Bright Sight

Oliver Backhouse, Consultant Eye Surgeon


Iritis, Iridocyclitis and Anterior Uveitis all mean the same thing you have inflammation at the front of your eye (Iris = coloured part of the eye Itis = Inflammation). Because the sensitive seeing parts of the eye are at the back, the diagnosis of Iritis is therefore usually not sight threatening.

Inflammation of the eye can cause Discomfort, Redness, Blurred Vision, Watering and Sensitivity to light. Iritis can sometimes be subtle and so is best diagnosed following a detailed examination of the eye under magnification (slit-lamp) by an Ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Over 90% of people with Iritis have no obvious cause and the problem will go on its own but eye drops make this quicker and reduce possible complications such as a rise in pressure within the eye (glaucoma). Certain features of the inflammation and possible associated symptoms (eg: stiff lower back) may make the doctor send off some investigations and prompt a referral to another specialty such as Rheumatology. It is surprising how many joint and eye conditions go together. Usually patients will need steroid and dilating (making the pupil big) eye drops to control the inflammation and ease the discomfort. The dilating eye drops will further make the vision blurred and the effect of these drops can last for several days after having been stopped.

Iritis often recurs and so should make you contact your GP / Optometrist on a semi-urgent basis to get your eyes rechecked. You should NOT self-prescribe steroid eye drops as this can cause long-term problems itself.