Seeing Better Than You Have Before

How An Eye Doctor Typically Treats Uveitis

by Linda Bates

If your eyes are red, sensitive to bright lights, and are giving you blurry vision, then you probably have a condition called uveitis. This is an inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the white of your eye. Your eye doctor can diagnose uveitis with a few simple tests, most of which simply involve looking at the eye with a magnifying glass or microscope. Once you're diagnosed, though, how is uveitis treated? Take a look.

Steroid Eye Drops

The key treatment for uveitis is corticosteroid eye drops. Usually, these contain the medication prednisolone, although some eye doctors may prefer to prescribe other, similar steroids. Steroid eye drops work by reducing inflammation, which is at the heart of your uveitis symptoms. As the swelling subside, so will the redness.

Steroid eye drops usually need to be used between two and four times per day. Often, your eye doctor will have you start off by applying the drops four times a day, and then after a few days, drop back to using the drops twice a day. 

Corticosteroids can cause an increased appetite, changes in energy levels, and weight gain. However, these effects are less likely to occur with eye drops than with oral steroids. 

Dilating Eye Drops

Your eye doctor may also prescribe dilating eye drops for you to use. These drops are meant to widen your pupils, which takes some stress and strain off the uvea. You will likely experience relief from the itching, burning symptoms within minutes of putting the drops in.

Dilating eye drops do make your eyes quite sensitive to light, so you'll want to stay in a dim place when using them. Luckily, most people only need to use these for the first day or two. After that, the steroids alone should provide enough relief.

Diagnosis and Management of Underlying Conditions

Most cases of uveitis are caused or perpetuated by an underlying condition like allergies, an autoimmune disorder, or a systemic infection, like Lyme disease. If your eye doctor has reason to suspect you have one of these underlying conditions, then they may refer to you another medical doctor, such as an allergist or rheumatologist. By ensuring any underlying conditions are diagnosed and treated, you can prevent future bouts of uveitis. 

If you think you may have uveitis, talk to your eye doctor. It's important to have this condition diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.