The term “uveitis” means "inflammation of the uvea." The uvea is the middle layer of the tissues surrounding the eyeball, stretching from the iris at the front of the eye all the way back to a lining beneath the retina at the back of the eye. The three main types of uveitis are named based on where inflammation occurs:
- Iritis (or “anterior uveitis”) for inflammation toward the front of the eye
- Cyclitis (or “intermediate uveitis”) for inflammation along the body of the eye
- Choroiditis (or “posterior uveitis”) for inflammation in the rear of the eye
Uveitis can also be called acute or chronic , depending on whether it is short or long in duration.
Uveitis usually occurs in only one eye. In the most common forms of uveitis, the eye is reddened, and the redness reaches into the area just next to the iris. The affected pupil may be smaller than the other and its shape may be irregular. Vision is often blurred or misty, and blinking will not clear it. Deep, aching pain generally accompanies uveitis.
Uveitis can begin after injury to the eye or eye surgery, but it can also start with no obvious trigger. While the underlying cause of uveitis is unknown, autoimmune processes are thought to play a role.
If left untreated, uveitis can cause permanent damage to vision, including blindness. For this reason, medical examination and treatment is mandatory. The diagnosis of uveitis is made by means of a special medical tool called a slit lamp. Treatment involves medications to reduce inflammation and control pressure in the eye.
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
No natural treatment can substitute for standard medical care for uveitis. However, two natural substances taken together, vitamin C and vitamin E , have shown promise when used in addition to standard treatment.
Other antioxidants besides vitamins E and C have also been recommended for acute uveitis, but there is as yet no real evidence that they are helpful. These include beta-carotene , bilberry , citrus bioflavonoids , lipoic acid , lutein , OPCs , selenium , and vitamin A .
Finally, websites discussing natural treatments for uveitis make numerous other recommendations, based on pure speculation. The list includes the following:
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -