Iritis More Common Than We Realize

Iritis, the most common form of uveitis, is more prevalent than most people realize. What are the symptoms of this eye condition? What can you do to prevent and manage all types of uveitis? When does uveitis signal an underlying condition?

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea. The uvea is made up of the iris, the colored part of the eye; the ciliary body, which makes the fluid that fills the eye and flexes the eye lens; and the choroid, the layer beneath the retina.

Types of Uveitis

    • Iritis or anterior (front) uveitis. Anterior uveitis can involve the iris, ciliary body, cornea, and sclera. It is the most common type of uveitis and accounts for about 50–60% of all uveitis cases in special care clinics.1 Sixty-five percent of cases are related to another health condition. The remaining 35% are idiopathic (no discernible relationship to another health problem).
    • Cyclitis or intermediate uveitis. Intermediate uveitis is the least common type of uveitis, involving the area between the ciliary body and the back of the eyeball. It has been found to account for 3–17% of uveitis around the world.2
    • Choroiditis or posterior (back) uveitis. This category accounts for only 10–40% of uveitis cases. However, more visual loss results in these cases than from other uveitis forms. Such vision loss may be due to cystoid macular edema, retinal detachment, subretinal fibrosis, or optic nerve damage.3 Up to 50% of patients with posterior uveitis have an associated systemic disease.

Iritis, the most common form, is an immune system-related condition affecting the front part of the eye. The iris becomes inflamed and is often experienced as a painful red eye. Iritis mostly affects people between the ages of 20 and 59 and is uncommon in children. It affects women only slightly more than men, a little less than 2% of the population.4 Iritis causes 2.8–10% of legal blindness in the US, or nearly 30,000 new cases of blindness each year.5

Chronic Inflammation, Iritis and Uveitis

uveitis and iritisChronic inflammation can affect the health of the body and eyes in many ways, including negatively affecting circulation, digestion (poor absorption of nutrients), joint damage, and increased free-radical activity. Common eye problems resulting from chronic inflammation include not only uveitis, but scleritis, macular edema, Sjogren’s syndrome, central retinal vein occlusion, diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy, and macular degeneration.

Uveitis may arise from problems in the eye itself or as a symptom of diseases of other parts of the body. It can be short in duration (acute) or continue for a long time (chronic). It may develop as a result of an autoimmune condition, trauma, bruise, infection, tumor, or due to environmental or other toxins.6 The resulting inflammation, if untreated, can destroy tissue, leave scars, lead to eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, optic nerve, and retinal damage, and even result in blindness.

How to Reduce Inflammation


We can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress to protect our vision. Antioxidants in our diet and supplemental nutritional support provide ingredients for fighting excess inflammation and oxidative stress. These include antioxidant enzymes like glutathione7 and superoxide dismutase (SOD),8 phytonutrients such as lycopene,9  lutein,10 and astaxanthin,11, and vitamin and vitamin-like compounds.

Superoxide dismutase has been found to be helpful in treating uveitis.12. It has a greater antioxidant effect compared to the corticosteroid dexamethasone. Adding it to therapy with dexamethasone results in lower inflammation intensity and enhanced dexamethasone effect.

Nutrients and Spices for Inflammation

Other nutrients and spices that help reduce inflammation include omega-3 fatty acids13 (such as fish oil), holy basil,14 turmeric (curcumin),15 and ginger.16

Other important nutrients that may be helpful (according to animal studies) include bilberry, trans-resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, green tea, and ginkgo Biloba.

Vitamin D

Low vitamin D levels are seen in patients with uveitis.  Since vitamin D is an important part of the body’s immune defenses, scientists are investigating this therapeutic avenue.17 Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for people at risk for a uveitis relapse.18

Vitamin B1

Benfotiamine, a derivative of thiamine found in roasted garlic, has potent antioxidative properties and has been shown to prevent diabetic complications such as uveitis.19

Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Iritis and Uveitis

A well-balanced diet, combined with good eating habits, promotes the best possible absorption of nutrients. The Vision Diet is an anti-inflammatory diet. It is based on the Mediterranean diet. The Vision Diet is an alkalizing and anti-inflammatory diet high in essential nutrients. We recommend favoring alkaline foods for everyone with an inflammatory condition (including heart conditions, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, diabetes, and digestive disorders of any kind), but even more so for anyone with chronic eye problems (even if not inflammatory), such as glaucoma, macula edema, uveitis, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Acidic diets, like the standard American diet, include high amounts of processed food, refined carbohydrates, poor-quality oils, and high levels of salt, which promote inflammation.

Moderate daily exercise not only supports our muscular system and physical strength, but it supports every system of the body, including the visual system, circulation, respiration, digestion, the immune system, brain functioning, and hormonal balance.

Managing stress and anxiety is also important, as these have been found to contribute to chronic inflammation.

Lifestyle habits are important; for example, it can make a significant difference if you stop smoking and wear ultraviolet-blocking sunglasses.

Supplement Recommendations

Advanced Eye and Vision Support Formula 60 vcaps – whole food, organic GMO free fomula

Dr. Grossman’s Vitamin C – (plant-based) 60 vcaps Formula

Resveratrol (Trans) w/Quercetin 60 vegcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Bilberry/Ginkgo Combination 2oz (60ml) – wild crafted herbal tincture

Dr. Grossman’s Meso Plus Retinal Support and Computer Eye Strain Formula with Astaxanthin 90 vcaps – combination of lutein, zeaxanthin, mesozeaxanthin and astaxanthin.

Supplement Packages

Anti-Inflammatory Eye and Whole Body Package 1 (1 month supply)


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  2. Ibid. Albert. (2000).
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  4. González MM, Solano MM, Porco TC, Oldenburg CE, Acharya NR, Lin SC, Chan MF. Epidemiology of uveitis in a US population-based study. J Ophthalmic Inflamm Infect. 2018 Apr 17;8(1):6.
  5. Acharya, N.R., Tham, V.M., Esterberg, E., Borkar, D.S., Parker, J.V., et al. (2013). Incidence and prevalence of uveitis: results from the Pacific Ocular Inflammation Study. JAMA Ophthalmol, 131:1405–1412.
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  14. Kamyab AA, Eshraghian A. Anti-Inflammatory, gastrointestinal and hepatoprotective effects of Ocimum sanctum Linn: an ancient remedy with new application. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2013 Dec;12(6):378-84.
  15. Peng Y, Ao M, Dong B, Jiang Y, Yu L, Chen Z, Hu C, Xu R. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Curcumin in the Inflammatory Diseases: Status, Limitations and Countermeasures. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2021 Nov 2;15:4503-4525.
  16. Mao QQ, Xu XY, Cao SY, Gan RY, Corke H, Beta T, Li HB. Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods. 2019 May 30;8(6):185.
  17. Pillar S, Amer R. The association between vitamin D and uveitis: A comprehensive review. Surv Ophthalmol. 2022 Mar-Apr;67(2):321-330.
  18. Chiu ZK, Lim LL, Rogers SL, Hall AJ. Patterns of Vitamin D Levels and Exposures in Active and Inactive Noninfectious Uveitis Patients. Ophthalmology. 2020 Feb;127(2):230-237.
  19. Allowitz KV, Yoo JJ, Taylor JR, Baloch OA, Harames K, Ramana KV. Therapeutic potential of vitamin B1 derivative benfotiamine from diabetes to COVID-19. Future Med Chem. 2022 Jun;14(11):809-826.