Iris is a part of the eyes. It is the part which imparts colour to the eyes. It is circular and pigmented membrane. The opening in the centre of the iris is known as pupil of the eye.
The iris has a function of adjusting the light entering the eye to achieve maximum clarity in the vision. The muscle fibres of the iris contract or relax in order to decrease or increase size of the pupil to adjust the light.
When this iris becomes inflamed due to one of the following causes, the condition is known as “Iritis”.
Iritis is a part of a broader disease terminology known as uveitis. Uveitis affects 1 in 4500 population. mostly people form the age group of 20 to 60 years get affected by this disease. It affects men and women equally. Uveitis results in blindness in 10% to 15% people in USA.
Blunt trauma to the eye can cause injury to the iris resulting in traumatic iritis.
Associated with auto immune disease:
Many times this condition is associated with some auto immune diseases such as psoriasis, spondylitis, Reiter syndrome, sarcoidosis etc.
It can also be caused in certain infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, syphilis, herpes, and tuberculosis etc.
It can also be caused as a side effect to certain drugs.
The patients may present with following symptoms:
- Pain in the eye
- Burning sensation in the eye
- Floaters in the eye
- Worsening of the pain after exposure to the bright light (photophobia)
- Redness in the eyes especially near the iris
- Reduced size of the pupil
- Distorted shape of the pupil
- Diminution of the vision
- Watering of the eye
- Head ache
The diagnosis is confirmed by examination of the eye on slit lamp examination. Slit lamp is a specialised type of microscope developed for the examination of the eyes.There is presence of flare seen on the slit lamp in a case of iritis.
Other tests such as Rheumatoid factor, HLA testing, chest X ray may be useful in diagnosing concurrent conditions.
It is very important to seek medical treatment by visiting an ophthalmologist.
Following prescription only treatment modalities are prescribed by the ophthalmologist to treat iritis:
They are given either as a topical treatment such as drops or oral therapy. They help in controlling the inflammatory symptoms.
Mild analgesics are given by doctor to reduce the pain and inflammation.
These medications are given if the iritis is caused because of viral or bacterial infections.
Wearing dark sun glasses:
Wearing UV protective sun glasses will reduce the glare and expose the affected eye to less bright sun light which will help in reducing the symptoms.
The condition should not be ignored or it may result in following serious complications:
- Macular oedema
- Permanent loss of vision