Iritis is a descriptive term for an inflammatory disorder of the colored part of the eye (iris). In the majority of cases there is no specific cause.
Sometimes iritis is just one symptom of a disease that affects other organ systems: arthritis and spinal degenerative disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and other collagen vascular diseases, bowel disturbances such as ulcerative colitis and regional enteritis, sarcoid. Some infections may cause iritis. Most often, however, iritis appears by itself.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of iritis include light sensitivity, red eye, blurred vision, tearing, pain, and sometimes floaters. The pupil may appear small in the affected eye when compared to the normal pupil. Frequently iritis is a recurrent problem; after a few episodes patients become very astute at early diagnosis. Iritis is sometimes confused with conjunctivitis, a much less serious disorder of the clear outer lining of the eye.
The secrets to the successful treatment of iritis are early detection and proper choice of medicines. Therapy consists of anti-inflammatory and dilating drops. These medicines decrease the inflammation and reduce the scarring that can occur. Persistent cases may require more intensive treatment. Successful treatment of iritis depends on careful and consistent compliance by the patient.
In serious cases, complications may arise. Cataracts, glaucoma, and corneal changes are possible consequences of both the disease and the medicines used to treat it. Careful observation is needed in the resolving phase to monitor potential problems. If the medicines are withdrawn too rapidly, a recurrence is very possible.