Uveitis: Definitions

 

Uveitis is an inflammatory problem in the tissues within the eye. This means inflammation deeper to the surface. Other names used to describe problems within the eye include:

 

Iritis or anterior uveitis: Inflammation of the front compartment of the eye, namely the iris and ciliary body. This is usually characterised by the presence of inflammatory cells in the anterior chamber of the eye. These cells are visible to the ophthalmologist examining a patient through a slit lamp (the microscope used to examine patients' eyes)

 

Posterior uveitis: Inflammation in the back part of the eye, namely in the vitreous gel, the retina and/or the choroid. Depending on the exact part of th posterior part of the eye involved, other terms used may include retinitis, choroiditis, pars planitis, intermediate uveitis, retinal vasculitis.

 

Pan uveitis: This is a term used to describe inflammation of both the front and the back parts of the eyes, including the optic nerve in some cases.

 

Please note that different terms may sometimes be chosen by different doctors to describe the same group of eye findings. For instance, one doctor may refer to a patient's problem as vitritis while the other may call it intermediate uveitis. This by itself is of little significance, what matters is not the name given to the condition but the recognition of the extent of the problem, the reason it happened, and the best treatment to address it. In general, there is some lack of uniformity in terminology amongst specialists in the field, but the approach to the diagnosis and management of these problems is usually fairly similar even if the preferred terminology is different.