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Like the rest of your body, your eyes can succumb to inflammation and irritation. Uveitis is an eye inflammation but is not a common infection like pink eye. Instead, several types of uveitis may affect varying parts of your eye, including some that become chronic problems that can cause vision loss. At Desert Retina, our doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating uveitis.

What is uveitis?

Three layers of tissues surround your eye. The middle layer, the uvea, contains most of the eye’s blood vessels. This layer also includes your iris and a group of muscles (the ciliary body) that help your eyes focus by controlling the shape of the lens.

Healthy Eye Compared to One With Uveitis

Uveitis, or chorioretinitis, refers to inflammation that generally occurs in the uvea, though it can affect other parts of your eye. Your uveitis may be acute and short-lived or become chronic. In severe cases, it’s a frequently recurring condition. Uveitis can also lead to serious complications like glaucoma and vision loss.

What are the different types of uveitis?

Anterior uveitis

Anterior uveitis causes swelling near the front of your eye, affecting the area around the iris. It’s the most common type of uveitis and is usually acute, developing suddenly and going away within six weeks.

Intermediate uveitis

When swelling occurs in the uvea near the middle of your eye, it’s called intermediate uveitis. This type is the least typical and is likely to become chronic, sometimes lasting years and going through recurring cycles of getting better, then flaring again.

Posterior uveitis

Posterior uveitis causes inflammation in the uvea toward the back of your eye. It often affects your retina, which is outside the uvea, and the choroid body, the part of your uvea that contains blood vessels, and may also involve the optic nerve well. This type usually develops in both eyes and can lead to vision loss.


Panuveitis is inflammation of all layers of the uvea of the eye, which includes the iris, ciliary body, and choroid

What causes uveitis?

Uveitis develops from numerous problems and conditions, including:

  • Infection that starts in your eye
  • Infection that starts elsewhere in your body
  • Response to toxins that get into your eyes
  • Underlying chronic disease

In many cases, the cause of uveitis can’t be determined. However, it can arise from many possible health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and the Epstein-Barr virus.

Beyond the apparent symptoms of inflammation and swelling, with uveitis you may experience:

  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Floaters
  • Diminished vision

Your symptoms may affect one or both eyes. Depending on the type of uveitis, they can quickly worsen or develop slowly.

The goal of treatment is to relieve inflammation and pain and prevent vision loss due to complications arising from ongoing uveitis. Your treatment is customized depending on the type of uveitis and its underlying cause if one can be identified. Some treatment options include topical and systemic corticosteroids, eyedrops to lower eye pressure, and immunosuppressive and biological agents.


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Serving patients in Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Riverside areas.