Eyes are sensitive organs that might be irritated due to several reasons. The uveal coat or the pigmented region in the center of the eye can be exposed to disorders like Iridocyclitis (Uveitis) . Know about the disease, its causes, diagnosis, treatment options and get other relevant information about it.
It is an ophthalmic condition that leads to the inflammation of certain parts of the uveal tract. The frontal side of the uveal layer has the iris and ciliary body whereas the choroid is located at the back. In this disease, inflammation occurs in the ciliary body and iris, located in anterior portion of the layer. Uveitis is the broader term for inflammation of the entire layer but Iridocyclitis is used to denote only a portion of it.
Picture 1 – IridocyclitisPicture 2 – Uveitis
Global data about the occurrence or prevalence of this disease is not available as yet. However, certain facts confirm that around 9 among 100,000 individuals in the USA gets affected with this disease every year.
Fuchs Heterochromic Iridocyclitis
This is a chronic type of Iridocyclitis, which is mostly unilateral and is bilateral in rare cases. Usually, no symptoms are displayed by patients with this condition. This is the reason why it is diagnosed through other investigations. It can be discovered while diagnosing Heterochromia or other similar ailments. The exact cause of this disease is not known. However, two of the probable causes can be virus infections and neurogenic factors.
The disorder is also known by other names like Fuchs heterochromic uveitis or Fuchs heterochromic cyclitis.
Iridocyclitis in Children
This condition afflicts children who have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis. Frontal part of the uvea becomes inflamed and this might even scar the pupils. It might as well affect the focusing capability of the eyes. Arthritis affects not only the joints and tissues but also the eyes, which gets irritated and swells up. A recent study has stated that the presence of high antinuclear antibodies might give rise to this disease instead of Juvenile Arthritis.
Types of Iridocyclitis
This ocular condition can be classified into 6 forms, namely:
- Acute Iridocyclitis: This type occurs all of a sudden and lasts for a maximum period of around 6 weeks. It is accompanied by a number of symptoms.
- Chronic Iridocyclitis: Chronic types have a prolonged existence and last for more than 6 weeks. They are usually asymptomatic. Systemic disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, syphilis, ankylosing spondylitis and Reiter’s syndrome are often linked with these types.
- Exogenous Iridocyclitis: This one is basically related to uveal injury caused from the outside. It has also been linked with the external microbes.
- Endogenous Iridocyclitis: This type of the disease is the result of internal microbes.
- Granulomatous Iridocyclitis: It comes along with voluminous cellular or keratic deposits.
- Non-granulomatous Iridocyclitis: This form is usually associated with small cellular deposits.
The uveal layer or uvea is engaged with the function of exchanging gases and nutritional aspect pertaining to the eyes. Iris is the shaded part and ciliary body in involved in production of fluid and control of eye movements. Several factors can be cited as a possible cause of this disease. These include:
Exposure to chemicals
When eyes get directly exposed to chemicals, there is a high possibility that this disease will be caused. Chemicals like lachrymators (tear gas) used during warfare are certainly dangerous to ocular health and may cause this disease.
Ocular viral infection
Viral infection in the eyes is another factor responsible for inflammation. Herpes zoster or herpetic Iridocyclitis is one such infection which might affect the pupil and cause distortion.
This form of arthritis may also cause the specific regions in the eye to swell up. It might be more common in females where few of the joints are involved.
Some of the following symptoms can be potent signs for this disease.
- Excessive sensitivity, experienced on exposure to bright light
- Pain in the eyes
- Redness in the eye
- Formation of water in the eyes/tearing
- Blurred vision accompanied with visual floaters
- Pupil gets constricted
- Sticking of the Iris to the lens or the cornea (Synechia)
For diagnosing Iridocyclitis, a doctor usually conducts an examination by dilating the pupils of the patient. Antinuclear Antibody test or ANA test is another diagnostic tool which works in its favor. This might be beneficial in cases that are not accompanied with symptoms. The doctor will perform close inspection of the eye to rule out chances of conjunctivitis and other ailments.
How long does Iridocyclitis last?
Iridocyclitis of different types may have varied recovery time. The severe types may usually last long, from several months to a year. The non-serious ones, like the nongranulomatous type, usually subsides within a few weeks.
Iridocyclitis vs Uveitis
Iridocyclitis mainly occurs due to bacterial invasion but causes for uveitis of other types might be due to sterile inflammation. Uveitis is associated with the inflammation of the entire uvea and has several names according to the parts affected. Uveitis is the umbrella term of which iridocyclitis is a type.
Know about some of the treatment considerations of this disease are:
Picture 2 – Iridocyclitis Image
- The treatment of the disease mainly considers the usage of steroidal eye drops, pain-relieving pupil-dilating eye drops and other medications. For light sensitivity, dark glasses can be worn.
- Steroids or tropane alkaloids. For easing inflammation, steroids can be applied topically. Dexamethasone and prednisolone are some of the effective topical steroids for this purpose.
- Atropine and Scopolamine are some of the effective medications which help in managing pain. Concentration of these tropane alkaloids can be 1% (Atropine) and .25% (Scopolamine).
- If these remedies do not work, and you are suffering from severe Iridocyclitis, the doctor might administer subconjunctival steroid injection. Steroids are avoided if a patient is found to have corneal ulcer or infection in the eye.
Several complications might arise in the absence of proper treatment. In worst circumstances of posterior uveitis, eye sight can be damaged forever. Glaucoma and cataracts are some other complications which may result.
Favorable prognosis can be observed with this disease. If proper treatment is administered, patient may recover well without any complications. But, recurring Iridocyclitis is common, which comes to haunt the patient again. If it is left without treatment, prognosis is surely quite poor in that case.
Since anterior uveitis usually recurs, patients must take care to visit an ophthalmologist on the very first outburst of symptoms.
Iridocyclitis vs Iritis
Iritis, also known as anterior uveitis, is a sub-category of the larger term uveitis. In this condition, the iris becomes inflamed. Similarly, Iridocyclitis (also called intermediate uveitis) is integral to the term Uveitis.