Iriditis (iridocyclitis): danger to the eye

If you look closely at an eye, you will see the pupil (the black circle) in the middle. The light enters the eye through the pupil. Surrounding the pupil is the iris, also called the iris. An inflammation of the iris is called iridocyclitis or iris inflammation. Iriditis occurs suddenly. Suddenly you get a painful, red eye and your vision gradually becomes blurred. It can occur in one eye, alternately in one of the two eyes, but also in both eyes at the same time. In severe cases, the iris can stick to the pupil, causing irreversible damage to the eye. Irrititis is treated with various eye drops, including the anti-inflammatory prednisone. In some cases an injection into the eyeball is necessary. The causes of iridocyclitis are often autoimmune infections such as ankylosing spondylitis (rheumatism) and Crohn’s disease. (chronic intestinal inflammation)

healthy iris / Source: Petr Novák, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-2.5)

Uveitis collective name for chronic eye infections

Uveitis develops suddenly. Suddenly you get a painful, red eye or your vision gradually becomes blurred. It can occur in one eye, alternately in one of the two eyes, but also in both eyes at the same time. Uveitis can be associated with high intraocular pressure, called glaucoma.

Three main forms of chronic eye infections

  • Anterior Uveitis (inflammation of the front of the eye)
  • Intermediar uveitis (inflammation in the middle of the eye)
  • Posterior uveitis (inflammation at the back of the eye)

The eye infection can cause temporary or permanent vision loss. In some cases it can lead to permanent blindness.

The pupil and the iris

If you look closely at an eye, you will see the pupil (the black circle) in the middle. The light enters the eye through the pupil. Surrounding the pupil is the iris, also called the iris. This membrane can be blue, gray, brown or green with all colors in between. This means, for example, that you have blue or brown eyes. The pupil controls the amount of light in the eye. When there is little light, the iris causes the pupil to dilate and when there is a lot of light, the pupil becomes narrow. The iris can become inflamed, which is medically called iridocyclitis or iris iris.

Cause of Rainbow Fluoritis

In most cases, Iridocyclitis is caused by an autoimmune inflammation. The body then damages its own tissues, in this case the iris. Ankylosing spondylitis is such an autoimmune inflammation. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of rheumatism in the spine, usually starting at the sacrum. Crohn’s disease or other chronic intestinal inflammation can also cause iritis.

Characteristics of Iridocyclitis

The eye is

  • Red: A red eye is caused by the swelling of blood vessels in the conjunctiva that covers the white of the eye.
  • very painful: It feels like there is a splinter in your eye.
  • barely able to tolerate light: the light of a match when lighting a candle or looking into the flame can cause excruciating pain.
  • virtually blind: Best described as a very heavily fogged opaque window with hundreds of moving black dots.

 

Source: Jonathan Trobe, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-3.0)

Archivitis can be a serious threat to the eye

If iris infection is not treated, it is a serious threat to the eye. You can hardly determine for yourself, especially for the first time, that it is this inflammation. The first day is fine, but the second day becomes very painful.

What to do with a red painful eye

Consult your doctor immediately. He can determine the diagnosis based on the clinical picture. In the event of a (suspected) iris infection, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. This can definitively determine the diagnosis with the help of the slit lamp.

Source: Marcela, Wikimedia Commons (GFDL-1.2)

The treatment of iris inflammatory disease

The treatment process can take a long time.

Measuring eye pressure

The very first measure that the ophthalmologist will take is measuring the eye pressure. Each eye has a certain tension. If too high eye pressure develops, damage to the optic nerve can occur, which can lead to glaucoma.

Pred Forte, eye drops with prednisone

The second measure is the prescription of the drug ‘Pred Forte’. This is an anti-inflammatory with prednisone that must be used immediately. Prednisone inhibits inflammation and hypersensitivity reactions and works after just a few hours. It
is used in conditions where severe inflammation plays a role. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, Pred Forte must be administered 3 to 8 times a day to calm the inflammation.

Atropine, drops that keep the pupil dilated

In addition, Atropine is a very important eye drop. Atropine is intended to ‘still’ the pupil, as it were, and to keep it wide, so that the iris does not stick to the pupil. Atropine relieves the pain, but also has very unpleasant consequences. Because the pupil is kept wide, it no longer responds to light/dark. This means that when there is a lot of (sun)light, the constriction no longer occurs, causing an enormous beam of light to enter the eye. Sunglasses are then an absolutely indispensable attribute.

Corticosteroid injection

If the inflammation is so intense that the eye drops do not help enough, a corticosteroid injection into the eyeball may be the solution. After such an injection, the eye looks particularly red and swollen , but the treatment is usually very effective.

Night ointment

To also treat the eye at night, the night ointment Ultracortenol is often prescribed. A predsinolone pivalate.

Possible consequences of iris infection

In severe cases it can cause irreparable damage to the eye. The membrane can stick to the pupil. You no longer see everything clearly, all images in the eye in question are blurred and can distort the colors that someone normally sees.

Duration of ignition

This depends on the severity of the inflammation. Six to eight months is a normal time with follow-up treatment, but it is no exception that it lasts two to three years. In those cases, a lighter eye drop is used: Dexamethasone.

Other eye problems that may occur after irisitis

  • Scars on the retina The ophthalmologist will then perform an OCT examination to examine the retina. (OCT = Optical Coherence Tomography) This technique makes smaller details visible. The preparation consists of administering

cataract / Source: Rakesh Ahuja, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

of pupil dilating drops. Fundus photographs are often also taken. Those are pictures of the back of the eye. The fundus photo allows the ophthalmologist to assess the health of the eye, allowing early abnormalities of the blood vessels on the retina to be identified.

  • Cataracts: Frequent use of medications in the eye can cause cataracts to develop. Cataracts can only be removed via surgery.
  • Fluctuations in eyeball pressure. Each eye has a certain tension: the eye pressure. If there is too high intraocular pressure and the eye is therefore under too much tension, damage can occur to the optic nerve and this can ultimately lead to glaucoma. These fluctuations can usually be controlled with the help of eye drops.
  • Mouches volantes or vitreous cloudiness: black dots or strings that float past the lens of the eye.

 

Iridocyclitis can recur regularly

The first dubious ‘advantage’ for someone who has had it once is that he or she will immediately recognize what it is about: iris inflammation. The second ‘benefit’. Each patient receives a note in his or her file from the ophthalmologist in the hospital. If you think that something is wrong again, you can usually see the ophthalmologist the same day. Which just indicates that iridocyclitis is not an ordinary eye infection.

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