AMERICAN UVEITIS SOCIETY

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the American Uveitis Society?
  2. How do I locate a specialist in Uveitis?
  3. What is Uveitis?
  4. My child has uveitis. Is there any information available?
  5. What is the difference in inflammation and infection?
  6. What causes Uveitis?
  7. How many people get Uveitis?
  8. Is Uveitis contagious?
  9. How is Uveitis treated?
  10. What is the difference in Uveitis and Iritis?
  11. Can Uveitis cause me to go blind?
  12. What research is being conducted on Uveitis?
  13. Are there any Clinical Trials in which I can participate?
  14. My Ophthalmologist used a lot of language I didn’t understand. Is a glossary available?
  15. Are there any support groups available for patients with Uveitis?

  1. What is the American Uveitis Society? Back to Top

    The American Uveitis Society is an organization composed of vision scientists with an interest in inflammatory diseases of the eye. More information can be found in the ABOUT section of this web site. Back to Top

  2. How do I locate a specialist in Uveitis? Back to Top

    Uveitis is typically diagnosed by a primary eyecare specialist. If the disease is mild, then diagnosis and treatment may be managed by that eyecare physician. If the inflammation is severe, persistant, difficult to treat, unusual, or the primary eyecare provider or patient wishes, then a referral may be made to a specialist in Uveitis. The American Uveitis Society provides a list of it's members who have agreed to provide online data here. Back to Top

  3. What is Uveitis? Back to Top

    The uvea is the middle of the three layers making up the wall of the eye. Located between the sclera and retina, the uvea is the pigmented (colored) tissue visible in the front of the eye as the iris, but it also extends all the way to the back of the eye as the ciliary body and choroid. When inflammation involves the uvea, the term "uveitis" is used. Thus uveitis refers specifically to inflammation of that layer. However, the term uveitis is used by many individuals to refer to inflammation of any of the internal parts of the eye.

  4. Information for Parents and Teachers of Children with Uveitis Back to Top

    The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation has a very informative booklet for the education of teachers and parents of children with uveitis. It can be obtained here.

  5. What is the difference in inflammation and infection? Back to Top

    Inflammation is a process mounted by the body in response to a triggering event which is interpreted to be harmful to the body. This inflammatory response uses white blood cells (leukocytes) as well as other substances in the body to attempt to control the harmful process. As an example, when a splinter lodges in someone's finger, an inflammatory response occurs. This is why the area around the splinter becomes swollen, sore, red, and warm. The inflammatory response not only helps to control the harmful process, but to repair any damage which occurred, by scar tissue formation. An Infection is an invasion of the body by germs, which may be bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, or other organisms. An infection causes an inflammatory response, but the trigger is different than in noninfectious disease, in this case being a germ. Inflammatory diseases can occur without being caused by an infection, and in fact this is the typical situation in Uveitis, most of which are currently considered to be autoimmune in nature.

    Therefore inflammation may occur without infection, but rarely does infection occur without inflammation. Uveitis is an inflammatory disease that can be caused by infectious OR noninfectious processes.

  6. What causes Uveitis? Back to Top

    As mentioned in the answer above, uveitis may be caused by infectious and noninfectious processes. There are hundreds of possible causes of uveitis and many more which vision scientists have not even discovered yet! To gain more knowledge in those areas where information is known, visit the "Diseases" area of this web site.

  7. How many people get Uveitis? Back to Top

    It is currently estimated that each year in the United States, approximately 15 new cases of uveitis will develop out of every 100,000 people, for a total of 38,000 people per year. It is further estimated that 10% to 15% of the blindness in the United States is due to uveitis.

  8. Is Uveitis contagious? Back to Top

    In general, you cannot "catch" uveitis from someone else, no matter how close your contact with that person. Uveitis is an inflammatory disease within the eye. However, certain infections which can cause uveitis are transmissible from person to person, such as Tuberculosis and Syphilis. Patients should discuss possible causes of their uveitis with their physician.

  9. How is Uveitis treated? Back to Top

    As with all diseases, the treatment of uveitis depends on each patient's unique situation, so there is no one correct answer to this question. The "Treatments " section of this web site details many options for the therapy of uveitis, and patients are encouraged to discuss therapeutic options with their individual physicians. In general, corticosteroids are typically one of the first-line forms of medical therapy, given either by drop, injection around the eye, pill form, or through the vein in severe cases. When corticosteroids are ineffective; a dose too high to be safe is required; or long-term medication usage is required; then steroid-sparing therapy may be used. Several different options are available, detailed in the "Treatments " section of this web site. Uveitis patients may need surgical therapy as well, such as cataract extraction, glaucoma surgery, vitrectomy, and other procedures. These are also detailed in the "Treatments " section of this web site

  10. What is the difference in Uveitis and Iritis? Back to Top

    You will notice that both terms have the same ending, "-itis", which refers to inflammation. Uveitis is inflammation of any part of the uvea, while iritis is inflammation of only the iris, located in the front part of the eye. Since the iris is part of the uvea, iritis is a form of uveitis. Iritis is also termed "anterior uveitis." "Uveitis" is to "Iritis" as "Car" is to "Chevrolet"-the latter one is a more specific term. Uveitis does not involve the anterior eye exclusively-intermediate, posterior, and pan- uveidies also exist.

  11. Can Uveitis cause one to go blind? Back to Top

    Uveitis is not a single disease and therefore it is not possible to make sweeping generalizations. Similar to other diseases, there is a broad spectrum of severity and the same disease may affect two individuals in completely different ways. Some general comments can be made, however. Severe uveitis that is resistant to treatment; uveitis that is not promptly and effectively treated; or uveitis that is accompanied by significant secondary complications may result in poor visual outcomes, including blindness. Despite this, with appropriate modern therapy in informed, cooperative patients, few individuals with uveitis should suffer such devastating outcomes.

  12. What research is being conducted on Uveitis? Back to Top

    A number of scientists conduct research which has either direct or indirect importance to uveitis diagnosis and treatment. Many of these scientists are members of the American Uveitis Society, whose current projects are listed in the "Research" section of the "Patients" area of this web site.

  13. Are there any Clinical Trials in which I can participate? Back to Top

    A number of research studies may be underway at various times, sponsored and directed by both members and non-members of the American Uveitis Society. To fulfill its mission of promoting knowledge regarding uveitis, UveitisSociety.org features lists of research projects submitted for posting here. These projects may include clinical trials of treatments such as medications or surgery; studies of new diagnostic techniques; or studies which seek to uncover the cause(s) of uveitis and ocular inflammatory disease. The American Uveitis Society makes no statements regarding the quality or safety of these studies. The information is provided solely for informational purposes, and individuals are strongly encouraged to discuss such studies with their personal physician(s) before participating. No additional information beyond that provided is available from this site.

  14. My Ophthalmologist used a lot of language I didn’t understand. Is a glossary available? Back to Top

    YES! This site has an extensive online glossary, available via numerous "pop up" windows, indicated by rust colored links which change to green when your mouse passes over them. Your browser must support Javascript to access these features. The complete glossary is also available here.

  15. Are there any support groups available for patients with Uveitis? Back to Top

    YES! UveitisSociety.org has a list of Uveitis-specific support groups known to us available here.