This is a condition where there is inflammation of the iris and uveal tissues. The condition may be acute, occurring suddenly with pronounced symptoms, or chronic, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms.


The cause of iritis is often obscure. Frequently, the condition is associated with arthritic conditions, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, and with diabetes, syphilis, diseased teeth, tonsillitis, and other infections. It may also be caused by trauma, and in this situation, is only temporary in nature.


Iritis is characterized by mild to severe pain, usually radiating to the forehead and becoming worse at night. The white of the eye is usually red and the pupil contracts and may be irregular in shape; there is extreme sensitivity to light, together with blurring of vision and tenderness of the eyeball. If not treated promptly, iritis can be dangerous because of scarring and adhesions that may cause impaired vision and occasionally even blindness.


Caring for iritis calls for treatment of the underlying cause. In addition, we may prescribe dilating eye-drops to prevent scarring or adhesions. Certain steroid drugs may be used to reduce the inflammation quickly. Warm compresses may also help to lessen the inflammation and pain. A protective covering allows the eye to rest. With proper treatment, acute iritis usually clears up fairly quickly, although it may recur. For permanent relief, elimination or control of the underlying cause is necessary.