Uveitis refers to a type of inflammation that affects the uvea, the middle layer of tissue in the eye wall. The most common causes of uveitis include:
- Eye injuries
- Complications from eye surgery
- Bacterial and viral eye infections
- Autoimmune disorders (e.g., sarcoidosis)
- Inflammatory disorders (e.g., Crohn's disease)
In general, people may have a genetic risk of developing uveitis, which is why it's important to consider family history with regard to this condition and other medical issues associated with uveitis. There are some studies that suggest smoking can increase the risk of developing uveitis as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Uveitis
Common signs and symptoms of uveitis include the following:
- Red eyes
- Eye pain
- Blurry vision
- Issues with light sensitivity
- Vision loss
These symptoms may develop gradually or quickly, so be sure to speak with an eye doctor as soon as you begin to experience these symptoms.
Medications for Uveitis
Medications can be used to help address the cause of uveitis. This includes:
- Anti-Inflammation Drugs – Eye doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications in eye drop form (typically corticosteroids) to help get the uveitis under control. Corticosteroids may also be administered in pill or injection form to supplement the eye drops.
- Antibiotics or Anti-Viral Drugs – For uveitis caused by eye infections, the ideal approach to treatment typically involves drugs that fight bacterial or viral infections.
- Immunosuppressive or Cytotoxic Drugs – For autoimmune disorders that impact the eyes and your vision, drugs may be prescribed that address these sorts of issues.
Surgical Treatments for Uveitis
When medications alone do not prove an ideal treatment option, it's important to consider surgical treatments that can help prevent vision loss and eye damage due to inflammation. That may include:
- Vitrectomy – This procedure involves the removal and replacement of the vitreous gel inside of the eye to help prevent issues with inflammation.
- Ocular Medication Implant – In some cases of uveitis, a small implant is placed inside of the eye to slowly release and administer a corticosteroid over the course of two to three years.
Addressing the Underlying Medical Condition
If a case of uveitis is a symptom or consequence of another medical condition, it is important for that underlying medical problem to be addressed directly. Eye doctors can still use the above medications and surgical procedures to help address a patient's vision, but it's of the utmost importance that the autoimmune disease or inflammatory disorder be treated as well.
Lattice degeneration is a condition that affects the retina, which is the tissue at the back of the eye essential for clear and proper vision. Lattice degeneration affects the peripheral portions of the retina, resulting in the tissue developing a lattice pattern. This pattern for the retina makes the peripheral area more likely to experience tears, breaks, holes, and potential detachment.
Causes of Lattice Degeneration
The exact cause of lattice degeneration has yet to be determined, but in a number of cases, the condition is linked to low blood flow or problems with inadequate blood flow to the eyes. It is generally genetic in nature and more likely to occur in people who are myopic (nearsighted).
How Common Is Lattice Degeneration?
In general, lattice degeneration only occurs in about 6 percent to 8 percent of the population. It's also commonly associated with about 30 percent of instances of retinal detachment. Of the people who do develop lattice degeneration, roughly 45 percent of them will experience problems in both eyes.
Signs and Symptoms of Lattice Degeneration
The most common signs and symptoms of lattice degeneration include:
- A flurry of floaters and spots
- Flashes of light
- Problems with peripheral vision
- A dip in general vision quality
Since central vision is not affected by lattice degeneration, it can be hard for patients to notice these warning signs, which is why it's important to undergo a thorough eye exam.
Risk Factors for Lattice Degeneration
As noted above, the primary risk factors for lattice degeneration are family history of the condition and nearsightedness. If you begin to develop lattice degeneration in one eye, it's more likely that you will also develop lattice degeneration in the other eye at some point.
Treatments for Lattice Degeneration
There are a number of treatment options for lattice degeneration depending on the progression of the condition in the patient's eye or eyes as well as the location of the weakened part of the peripheral retina. In many cases, the best option for treatment is laser photocoagulation, a process that helps seal holes in the retina and prevent further vision loss in the process. Other potential options with a similar aim include laser retinopexy, cryotherapy, and scleral buckling.
Advanced Care for Uveitis and Lattice Degeneration in Kansas and Missouri
The doctors of Retina Associates of Kansas City have many years of experience treating uveitis, lattice degeneration, and many other ocular conditions. To learn more about treating vision problems and helping you see clearly, we encourage you to contact our team of eye care and vision specialists today. We will diagnose your condition and discuss options for treatment and prevention. With locations throughout Kansas and Missouri, we’re easily accessible to patients from Kansas City, Topeka, Sedalia, and other surrounding areas.