La uveitis is an intraocular inflammation that occurs in the uveaBetween the retina and the sclera and, of the different types that can be presented, the most common is the anterior uveitis, iridocyclitis o iritis if it affects only the iris
En Área Oftalmológica Avanzada we tell you everything you need to know about iridocyclitis.
What is iridocyclitis?
Iridocyclitis is the most common type of uveitis. It appears suddenly, associated with autoimmune diseases, and especially in young and healthy patients.
Most often, iridocyclitis appears only in one eye, and its symptoms usually last up to two months. The inflammation can be recurrent or chronic, and its prognosis is good, since patients usually have no problems recovering.
Iritis has the characteristic that the iris and the ciliary body. These two structures, together with the choroid, form the middle layer of the eye (the uvea). They are found in the front of the eye, and the choroid in the back.
For this reason, iridocyclitis or iritis is also known as anterior uveitis, since it affects the ocular structures located in the anterior part of the eye, and it is necessary to differentiate it from posterior uveitis, which affects the choroid and structures close to it such as the retina.
Types of iritis
There are different types of iridocyclitis, taking into account different criteria:
According to the cause that originates it
- Exogenous Irodicillitis: It is produced by external causes, for example trauma or germs.
- Endogenous Irodicyclitis: when caused by the body itself.
Depending on the evolution time
- Acute anterior uveitisSymptoms appear suddenly, and disappear within 6 weeks.
- Chronic anterior uveitis: it occurs when the symptoms last more than 6 weeks, and it is usually asymptomatic. It is associated with systemic diseases such as Behcet's syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, sarcoidosis, reactive arthritis, syphilis, tuberculosis, and Lyme disease.
By the type of reaction
- Granulomatous iridocyclitis: it is usually due to the direct action of a germ that invades the uvea (syphilis, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, etc.).
- Non-granulomatous iridocyclitis: The cause is usually in hypersensitivity reactions, and usually does not respond well to steroid treatment.
Causes of anterior uveitis or iridocyclitis
Iridocyclitis occurs in people who have any of the following conditions:
- Ankylosing spondylitis.
- Crohn's disease.
- Reiter syndrome.
- Juvenile chronic arthritis.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis.
However the causes that cause it are not known exactly, Although iridocyclitis is usually associated with systemic diseases such as the ones we have just seen, it can also be related to the following factors:
- Infections (by viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites).
- Genetic heritage.
- Immune disorders in which antibodies appear.
- La presence of HLA B-27 (genetic marker).
There are many cases where it is not even possible to suspect the cause that has caused the anterior uveitis.
However, there seems to be a certain involvement of different antibodies that provoke inflammation between the iris and the ciliary body, although it is currently not possible to know which antigens or substances ultimately cause its appearance.
Unfortunately, it is not currently known no way to prevent the development of anterior uveitis. The only thing that can be done is to go to the ophthalmology consultation as soon as possible to prevent the inflammation from becoming more serious.
In order for the symptoms of iridocyclitis not to get worse, once they appear it is important go to the emergency department from the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
Special care must be taken when symptoms are noticed of which we talk in the next section.
Symptoms of iritis
Patients with anterior uveitis may have large number of symptoms:
- Intense pain in the eye.
- Redness around the iris in the form of sunbeams.
- Blurred vision.
- Contraction in the pupil (myosis), which cannot react.
- Permanent tearing.
- Cloudy fluid inside the eye, due to the suspension of inflammatory particles (this is known as Tyndall's phenomenon).
- Whitish deposits on the cornea (inflammatory cells).
- Intense contractions in the Eyelids (Blepharospasm).
- Adhesions between the iris and the crystalline.
- Bags accumulated under the eye, with abundant inflammatory content (hypopyon).
In addition, in the cases of patients with iritis, complications like the following:
- Later appearance of cataract.
- Increased intraocular pressure.
- Swelling of the taint (macular edema).
- Retinal detachment.
Treatment of iridocyclitis
We recommend that patients with anterior uveitis do not self-medicate in any case. It is very important not to do so, and in your case make an appointment with a specialist in retinal diseases so that he or she determines the treatment to follow.
For the treatment of anterior uveitis, the following solutions are usually used:
- Apply mydriatics to dilate the pupil and avoid discomfort.
- Taking corticosteroids to reduce the information.
En Área Oftalmológica Avanzada we are experts in the treatment of iridocyclitis. If you want to answer any further questions in relation to this issue, contact us, we will be happy to help you!