Suddenly Photosensitive With Sore, Red Eyes? See Your Ophthalmologist Immediately To Protect Your Sight

Problems with your vision should never be ignored, especially if they seem to come out of nowhere If you wake up one morning and suddenly realize that turning on the lights actually causes you physical pain and your vision is blurry and seems almost like there's a bit of mist in front of your eyes, you could have a condition called uveitis iritis. It requires immediate treatment from a doctor, like Jo Johnson, M.D.

What is uveitis iritis?

Iritis is simply the most common form of uveitis. The uvea of your eye is the iris, the choroid layer, and the ciliary body. The iris is the colored part of your eye that surrounds the pupil and contracts or expands in order to restrict or allow light into the pupil. The ciliary body is the actual ring of muscle behind the iris that allows it to contract and expand as necessary. It also connects the iris with the choroid layer. The choroid layer of the eye is vascular, meaning it contains veins that nourish the eye with blood, and it exists between the white of your eye and the retina in the back. 

When these areas become inflamed, they often appear red and sore, but not always. Light sensitivity is always present and cloudy vision will develop as the condition continues if it isn't treated. According to the CDC, 10% of all cases of blindness are the result of uveitis. 

How is uveitis iritis diagnosed?

Your ophthalmologist can diagnose your condition through a thorough exam. While redness, photo-sensitivity, and pain are common, your eye doctor is actually likely to make the diagnosis by looking through what's known as a "slit-lamp." This is a special microscope with a light in it that allows your doctor to see what's happening inside your eye. 

When the condition is starting to become serious, your ophthalmologist will actually be able to see clusters of white blood cells moving in the anterior chamber of your eye, almost as if it were snowing inside your eye. The size and classification of the clumps of white blood cells can help your eye doctor determine what the cause of the iritis is, which may be essential for long-term treatment. Small clusters generally indicate an idiopathic, or unknown, reason. Large clusters point to an underlying problem, like an auto-immune disorder that you may not know you have.

How is uveitis iritis treated?

Short-term treatment may include steroids, eye drops designed to keep the iris from going into spasms when there's too much light around (allowing your eye to rest and reducing your pain), and even an eye-patch if only one eye is affected. The condition may take several months to heal.

Your ophthalmologist is also likely to refer you for testing to one or more specialists, especially if he or she suspects that you have a chronic, underlying condition that is causing the iritis. Everything from certain types of arthritis to disorders like Lupus can cause iritis to flare, so controlling those underlying conditions is a must in order to maintain good eye health.

Most people think of their ophthalmologist as someone who just provides their prescription glasses or contacts, but the reality is that these eye care specialists can end up saving your vision. If you're having any signs of vision trouble, don't delay making an appointment with an ophthalmologist near you. 

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