Early Treatment for Iritis Can Prevent Vision Loss

by Jason H. Nakagawa, OD

What is iritis?

Iritis is an inflammation of the iris, the colored portion of your eye. The iris contains tiny muscles that help open and close the pupil to control how much light enters the eye. Since the iris is located in the front portion of the area of the eye called the uvea, it is often referred to as “anterior uveitis.”

Prescription eye drops and oral medications can resolve iritis.

What causes iritis?

Iritis may be caused by trauma or injury, diseases like inflammatory bowel disease or psoriasis, or infections like Lyme disease, herpes zoster (shingles), tuberculosis, herpes simplex, syphilis and toxoplasmosis.

What are the symptoms of iritis?

The most common symptoms of iritis are:

  • redness in the eye, especially near the iris
  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • pain in the eye or near the brow
  • extremely small or oddly-shaped pupil
  • eye pain that becomes worse in bright light

How is iritis diagnosed?

Iritis is diagnosed through an exam with a slit-lamp, a special light used in eye exams. Dr. Nakagawa will look for signs like proteins and white blood cells in the iris that typically indicate iritis. Additionally, he'll look to see if shining light in the unaffected eye causes pain to occur in the affected eye. Iritis is also suspected when eye pain does not resolve when a topical anesthetic is applied.

How is iritis treated?

Special prescription eye drops or pills are prescribed to help control inflammation and infection and prevent spasm of the iris muscles so the iris can rest and heal. Followup visits are essential to ensure proper healing and prevent vision loss. Depending on the cause, iritis can take a couple of weeks to several months to resolve. Some medical conditions may cause the condition to be recurrent. Dr. Nakagawa can provide you with steroid eye drops to treat flare-ups before they become serious.

Contact Us to Learn More 

If you are exhibiting the symptoms of iritis, a visit to an eye doctor can help save your vision. You may schedule a consultation online at any time or call our office at (310) 340-6925 to get started. 

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Very impressed with Dr. Nakagawa and his staff. I would highly recommend this office for eye care. It was the best experience I have ever had in an eye doctors office. Lucas G.

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