EYE HEALTHCARE – EYE INFLAMMATION
Approximately 90% of internal eye inflammations occur at the front part (anterior) of the eye – This is called ‘Iritis’, where the Iris (controls light inflow) and ciliary body (controls focusing) are affected; so hence the symptoms of photophobia and blurred vision respectively. Unique to Iritis is the fact the light sensitivity is present in the affected eye (direct) and also, separately, gives a reaction if light is shone into the unaffected eye (consensual), unlike other eye conditions, e.g. Conjunctivitis. Characteristically, the redness on the ‘white’ part of the eye (sclera), comes as a ‘haze’ or ‘flush’ of mild redness, often localised in a circular form around the cornea. As optometrists, we also look for characteristic ‘Aqueous Flare’, which are small inflammatory cells floating in the anterior chamber under high (X40) magnification. Another firm diagnosis is the presence of ‘Keratic Precipitates’, which are clumps of white blood cells located on the cornea’s back surface.
With accurate diagnosis on the type of eye inflammation (Uveitis), treatment is quite easy, usually being addressed by steroid drops e.g. Maxidex 0.1% (dexamethasone), which are then reduced (tapered off) gradually. Also, pupil dilators (cyclopegics) are used as a prevention of any adhesions (synechiae) developing between the posterior Iris and the eye’s lens. Thankfully, all the symptoms generally resolve within the week, where the individual keeps a close watch for any recurrences, as it lies latent.