Iritis (eye pain)
Iritis (more correctly classified as anterior uveitis) is an inflammation of the iris. It may include inflammation of the ciliary body (cyclitis), which is located behind the iris. In iritis, small white blood cells from the inflamed area and excess protein that leaked from the small blood vessels inside the eye float into the aqueous fluid between the iris and the cornea.
Posterior uveitis (choroiditis) is a related condition in which the inflammation extends to the retina and choroid.
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Acute iritis generally heals by itself within several weeks. But chronic (recurring) iritis can last for months or years. In addition, it responds less readily to treatment and raises the risk of damage to the vision. Complications of chronic iritis can include: glaucoma, cataracts, cystoid macular oedema, corneal calcification, posterior calcification and possibly blindness.
- Eye pain
- Throbbing pain
- Light Sensitivity
- The pupil may become smaller in the affected eye
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Red eye
The cause of iritis may vary and may be due to trauma, autoimmune disorders, inflammation, and infections or cancers connected to other conditions. It is generally a side effect of some other conditions, but may be the only condition that is noticeable. Even when the disorder is treated early, it often recurs. In most cases, however, it eventually disappears.
Since the cause of iritis is not known, a very careful medical history needs to be taken. Your doctor may recommend chest X-rays, blood tests, stool evaluation, skin tests or even a spinal tap.
The first line of treatment is usually steroid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eyedrops. If the inflammation persists or comes back, your doctor may also inject steroids around your eye or prescribe additional oral steroids, antibiotics, antifungals, or antivirals.
A case of iritis usually lasts six to eight weeks. Make sure your eye doctor monitors your progress carefully. The effects of the medication can be cataracts, glaucoma, corneal changes and possibly more inflammation.
Self Help: Diet, Nutrition & Lifestyle
We believe that eye problems such as iritis reflect the health of the whole body. Therefore diet, nutrition and lifestyle choices play a major role in having and keeping good vision.
Certain nutrients such as Fish Oil, MSM eyedrops, Serraflazyme and vitamins and minerals may help clear up iritis.
- Supplementation with nutrients and eyedrops that have been found to be helpful for iritis.
- Diet & lifestyle protocol - see our recommendations for eye health.
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Iritis may occur along with a number of other conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune problem wherein tissues surrounding the joints are swollen and inflammed.
- Uveal tract inflammations of other areas of the uvea such as cyclitis and choroiditis
- Behcet's disease - a possible autoimmune disorder in which there is blood artery and/or vein inflammation throughout the body, including the eye.
- Crohn's disease and Colitis are common types of inflammatory bowel disease.
- Graves' disease is an autoimmune condition causing hyperactivity of the thyroid.
- Lupis - another chronic autoimmune condition causing inflammation because immune system becomes over-active and attacks healthy systems.
- Chronic psoriasis - immune system abnormalities or stress-related flare-ups cause severe inflammation and scaly skin cell tissue.
- Gout - painful inflammation resulting from too much uric acid which crystallizes and gathers in joints.
- Lyme disease - a bacteria-caused infection that causes inflammation and pain in joints and can spread to the heart and nervous system.
- Tuberculosis - another bacteria-caused infection that attacks the lungs, especially impacting people with a weak immune system.
- Venereal disease, including syphilis and herpes - sexually transmitted diseases involving a variety of bacteria, viruses, and yeasts.
- Some cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma