How long does blurred vision last from iritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

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Iritis is inflammation of the iris (the ring of colored tissue surrounding the pupil of the eye).

Iritis is the most common form of a group of conditions called uveitis. The uvea extends from the front to the back of the eye and comprises the iris, the ciliary body, which is next to the iris, and the choroid body which is at the back of the eye surface.

Anterior uveitis predominantly involves the iris, but the ciliary body can be involved as well. In this case it is called iridocyclitis.

Autoimmune medical conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease and sarcoidosis are associated with iritis.

Iritis can also result from an infection in another part of the body (such as shingles, chickenpox or the cold sore virus) that spreads to the eye.

Injury to the eye and eye surgery may also bring on an attack of iritis.

In many cases, the cause of iritis is unknown.

Symptoms of iritis include:

• Eye pain
• Sensitivity to light
• Redness of the eye
• Watering of the eye
• Blurred vision
• Floating spots in the field of vision

An ophthalmologist using an instrument called a slit lamp to examine the inside of the eye can make the diagnosis.

The presence of iritis indicates the need for a more in-depth medical work-up.

Eye drops (especially steroids such as prednisolone or dexamethasone) and pupil dilators are used to reduce inflammation and pain in the front of the eye.

The steroid drops may need to be instilled frequently (in severe cases, as often as every half hour).

Pupil-dilating drops (such as cyclopentolate or atropine) provide comfort and prevent certain complications of iritis. These drops also cause the patient to experience blurred vision and more sensitivity to bright light.

Uveitis arising in the front or the middle of the eye (iritis or iridocyclitis) is sudden in onset and generally lasts six to eight weeks. In early stages, it can usually be controlled by the frequent use of drops.

Uveitis in the back part of the eye (choroiditis) is usually slower in onset, may last longer and is often more difficult to treat.

In most cases, complications are rare but they include glaucoma (high pressure in the eye causing damage), cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) and neovascularisation (new blood vessel formation).

If left untreated, inflammation in the eye can lead to permanent damage and loss of vision.

If a patient experiences severe eye pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and watering of the eye, or if the patient notices that one pupil is smaller than the other, the eye physician needs to be notified immediately.

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