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What is iridocyclitis?

Iridocyclitis is an eye condition where the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the ciliary body (the muscles and tissues that are involved in focusing the eye) are inflamed. It may also be called iritis or anterior uveitis.

What are the causes of iridocyclitis?

The iris controls the amount of light entering the eye through the pupil, which is the dark opening at the center of the eye. Right next to the iris is the ciliary body, which is a ring of tissue that encircles the lens of the eye. The ciliary body helps to control the shape of the lens and secretes aqueous humor, a fluid called which provides nutrients to the eye.

Any condition that causes damage or inflammation to the iris or ciliary body can cause iridocyclitis, such as:

  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Medical conditions such as arthritis
  • Trauma.

Sometimes no apparent reason for the iridocyclitis is found.

What are the symptoms of iridocyclitis?

Symptoms generally include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red and inflamed eyes
  • Rarely, vision loss.

How is iridocyclitis diagnosed?

See your doctor if your eyes are red and you have eye pain or are sensitive to light.

Your doctor will look at your eyes and ask you about your history. They may also conduct a vision test or refer you to a specialist.

Iridocyclitis can be classified as:

  • Acute iridocyclitis: Sudden onset, with a usual duration of 3 weeks although may last up to 6 weeks
  • Chronic iridocyclitis: Inflammation is persistent, and the condition lasts for more than 3 months
  • Recurrent iridocyclitis: The condition recurs frequently.

How is iridocyclitis treated?

Most cases of iridocyclitis clear up by themselves within a few days. If iridocyclitis is caused by an infection or a specific condition, then treating this underlying cause will usually resolve the symptoms.

Treatment should be started early to minimize vision damage. Treatments may include corticosteroids (these may be oral, topical, periocular, intraocular, or intravenous).