Ocular Inflammation

Ocular Inflammation

What is ocular inflammation?

The term ocular inflammation refers to a group of conditions that can cause the eye to become red, swollen and inflamed. The most common of these conditions are uveitis and scleritis.

Uveitis is the inflammation of the inside of the eyeball. The condition generally affects two parts of the eye - the iris, which is the colored ring around the pupil, or the ciliary body, which lies next to the iris. Uveitis can also affect deeper parts of the eye, including the choroid, which provides blood to the retina at the back of the eyeball.

Sometimes the exact cause of uveitis is unknown. In other cases, the condition occurs in conjunction with an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis. It can also be caused by an infection or an eye injury.

Scleritis is the inflammation of the white outer part of the eye. Scleritis usually occurs in the presence of an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Like uveitis, it can also occur for unknown reasons, or it can be the result of an infection or eye injury.

Other ocular inflammatory conditions treated by Temple include infectious retinitis, mucous membrane pemphigoid, and ocular complications of AIDS or systemic inflammatory diseases.

What are the symptoms of ocular inflammation?

Symptoms of uveitis can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Floating dark spots
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Light sensitivity

Symptoms of scleritis can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Severe eye pain and tenderness
  • Red patches on the white of the eye
  • Extreme light sensitivity
  • Tearing

In rare cases, uveitis and scleritis will not cause any noticeable symptoms.

What are the risk factors for ocular inflammation?

The main risk factor for uveitis and scleritis is the presence of an autoimmune disease, such as AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Both uveitis and scleritis are more likely to occur in adults ages 30 to 60. Scleritis is more common in women than men.

How is ocular inflammation treated?

Treatments can include steroidal or non-steroidal eye drops, eye drops to relieve pain, oral medications, or dark glasses to limit sunlight exposure.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple ophthalmologist, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).