Diagnosis

Your eye doctor will conduct a complete eye exam, including:

  • External examination. Your doctor might use a penlight to look at your pupils, observe the pattern of redness in one or both eyes, and check for signs of discharge.
  • Visual acuity. Your doctor tests how sharp your vision is using an eye chart and other standard tests.
  • Slit-lamp examination. Using a special microscope with a light on it, your doctor views the inside of your eye looking for signs of iritis. Dilating your pupil with eye drops enables your doctor to see the inside of your eye better.

If your eye doctor suspects that a disease or condition is causing your iritis, he or she may work with your primary care doctor to pinpoint the underlying cause. In that case, further testing might include blood tests or X-rays to identify or rule out specific causes.

Treatment

Iritis treatment is designed to preserve vision and relieve pain and inflammation. For iritis associated with an underlying condition, treating that condition also is necessary.

Most often, treatment for iritis involves:

  • Steroid eyedrops. Glucocorticoid medications, given as eyedrops, reduce inflammation.
  • Dilating eyedrops. Eyedrops used to dilate your pupil can reduce the pain of iritis. Dilating eyedrops also protect you from developing complications that interfere with your pupil's function.

If your symptoms don't clear up, or seem to worsen, your eye doctor might prescribe oral medications that include steroids or other anti-inflammatory agents, depending on your overall condition.

Preparing for your appointment

Make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in eye care — an optometrist or an ophthalmologist — who can evaluate iritis and perform a complete eye exam.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to your vision problem and when they began
  • All medications, vitamins or supplements you take, including doses
  • Key personal information, including recent trauma or injury and your family medical history, including whether any family member has an autoimmune disorder
  • Questions to ask your eye doctor

Take a family member or friend to your appointment, if possible, to help you remember information you're given. Also, having your pupils dilated for the eye exam will affect your vision for a time afterward, so it might be helpful to have someone drive you home.

For iritis, some questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Can iritis permanently affect my vision?
  • Do I need to come back for follow-up exams? When?
  • What should I do if my symptoms don't go away or seem to worsen?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Do you have brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your eye doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:

  • Do you have symptoms in one or both eyes?
  • Do you feel pain in your eye after touching your eyelid?
  • Do you have headaches?
  • Does bright light worsen your eye pain?
  • Is your vision blurred?
  • Do you have symptoms of arthritis, such as joint pain?
  • Do you have sores in your mouth or on your genitals?
  • Have you been diagnosed with iritis before?
  • Have you been diagnosed with other eye conditions?
  • How are you feeling overall?