Uveitis treatment: Know your options
Your eye specialist (ophthalmologist) will recommend treatment for your uveitis, a form of eye inflammation that affects the middle layer of eye tissue (uvea), depending on the location, cause and severity of your condition. Uveitis can affect different parts of the uvea, and inflammation can be mild to severe. While the cause is often unknown, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and inflammatory and autoimmune conditions can play a role.
The goal of treating uveitis is to reduce inflammation, ease pain and improve your vision. Here is an overview of your treatment options.
Uveitis can be treated with medications in the form of eye drops, injections and pills.
- Corticosteroid eyedrops. Your doctor might first prescribe eyedrops, such as prednisolone acetate (Pred Forte) for mild uveitis in the front of your eye (anterior uveitis). How often you apply drops depends on the intensity of your inflammation. If your uveitis affects the back of your eye (posterior uveitis), difluprednate (Durezol) might be an option. Some side effects include raised fluid pressure inside the eye, development of clouding of the lens of your eye (cataracts) and delayed healing.
- Corticosteroid injection. If a topical corticosteroid doesn't decrease the inflammation, your doctor might recommend an injection of a corticosteroid around the eye, under the eye's surface or in the eye. Side effects might include an eye condition that damages the optic nerve (glaucoma) and cataracts.
- Oral corticosteroids. These medications are for resistant cases of inflammation or for people who can't be treated with injections. Because these medicines can have significant side effects, your doctor will give you the lowest possible dose that controls inflammation.
- Drops that dilate your pupils. Drops such as cyclopentolate (Cyclogyl) are used in addition to corticosteroids. These drops make your pupils larger, which reduces pain and prevents the iris from sticking to other parts of the eye (synechiae). These drops might make your near vision blurry and increase light sensitivity.
- Immunosuppressive drugs. Your doctor might recommend this type of medication if your uveitis affects both eyes, doesn't respond well to corticosteroids or becomes severe enough to threaten your vision. Options include methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex), azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) and cyclosporine (Sandimmune). When using these medications you'll be monitored for side effects.
- Biologics. If other treatments are ineffective, your doctor might recommend genetically engineered proteins that reduce inflammation (biologics). Examples include adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade) and daclizumab (Zinbryta).
- Drugs that fight bacteria or viruses. If your uveitis is caused by an infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications — with or without corticosteroids — to bring the infection under control.
To monitor side effects of your uveitis medications, you might need to visit your doctor for follow-up exams and blood tests every 1 to 3 months.
Nov. 08, 2016
See more In-depth
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- AskMayoExpert. Uveitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.