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Vitreous Disorders

IRITIS

detachment illustrationThe iris is the colored part of the eye. It is made up of muscle with a thin layer of pigment on the surface. The iris regulates the amount of light coming into the eye by decreasing the pupil size in bright light and increasing the pupil size in darkness. Iritis, or anterior uveitis, is an inflammation of the iris . The cause of the inflammation of iris tissue is generally unknown. In half of the cases, it is secondary to other inflammations in the body. Iritis can also be caused by trauma to the eye or infection of other parts of the eye.

Classic symptoms of iritis involve pain in the eye and sensitivity to light. The intensity of pain and light sensitivity can range from a slight discomfort to severe pain with significant sensitivity to light. Iritis needs to be monitored closely which means frequent visits to the office for re-evaluation.

Treatment for iritis may require keeping the pupil of the infected eye dilated. Dilation reduces some of the pain. Steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are usually prescribed. Any changes in your condition other than improvement must be reported as possible. Take special care not to stop your medication suddenly or without permission. Strong rebound reactions might occur. Also, we must watch the pressure of your eye so that you do not develop glaucoma.

UVEITIS

This is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye which may be due to infections, auto-immune disorder and rarely, tumors. The most common uveitis is an anterior uveitits or iritis. Less common are posterior uveitis. Patients with uveitis may complain of eye redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, spots or flashes of light. In half the causes, the reasons can not be determined. To help determine the cause of the inflammation, your medical doctor should see you to perform a comprehensive physical examination as well as obtain blood work. Often times X-Rays are required.

Treatment for uveitis requires steroids to suppress the inflammation. Often, dilating drops are used to quiet the inflammation and make the eye more comfortable. The length of treatment varies from patient to patient. The uveitis can return after the drops have been discontinued, thus, you should report any change in vision, redness or pain.

If a uveitis is present for a long time, the inflammation can cause other problems such as glaucoma and cataracts. It is therefore important that the uveitis be controlled.

VIRITIS

Vitritis is an inflammation of the jelly in the posterior portion of the eye. This jelly which keeps the eye from collapsing may be inflamed from infection, auto-immune disorders and rarely, tumors. Patients with vitritis may notice redness of the eye, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or spots.

Physical exam as well as obtain blood work is needed to determine the cause of the Vitritis. Treatment for vitritis requires steroid to control the inflammation and sometimes dilating drops to either make the eye more comfortable or to prevent other complications. The dosage and length of time of treatment varies from patient to patient. Vitritis can return after the medication has been stopped, thus, one should look for re-occurrence and report it immediately. If the vitritis is present for an extended period of time glaucoma and/or cataracts may occur.

VITREOUS HEMORRHAGE

There is bleeding (hemorrhage) into the vitreous gel inside the eye. Most vitreous hemorrhages will reabsorb spontaneously. A vitreous hemorrhage is a result of a blood vessel in the retina leaking or torn. Vitreous hemorrhage can result from a retinal tear, contusion to the eye, vascular diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell disease and central retinal vein occlusion.

You should rest quietly to help the blood settle in an effort to clear the vitreous hemorrhage. At night you should sleep with a raised pillow to facilitate drainage. If possible you should avoid aspirin or blood thinning products. If the hemorrhage does not clear spontaneously, within 6 mos, they may be cleared surgically.