Uveitis

Uveitis is a general diagnosis that is used to describe a large group of eye inflammations and infections. What these conditions have in common is that inflammation of the uvea includes the iris, ciliary body and choroid. The most common causes of uveitis are toxoplasmosis, pars planitis, cytomegalovirus retinitis and histoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is an infective condition that is caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. The most common form of eye disease is inflammation of the retina with simultaneous inflammation of the uveal tract, including the iris and choroid. This condition can lead to blindness and one eye is usually more affected than the other. In 98 percent of inflammations, the infection is congenital which means it is transmitted to an unborn embryo through the placenta. Cats are carriers of this infection, so it is very important that pregnant women do not have contact with cats.

Pars planitis is also called vitritis. This is an inflammation of the vitreous that fills the interior of the eye. It results in leukocytes accumulating in the inferior part of the eye. Due to their appearance, ophthalmologists refer to these as 'snow balls'. Most patients with this condition visit the ophthalmologist as a result of having problems with cloudy vision. The eye is usually pale and shows no sign of inflammation on its exterior. This disease sometimes occurs in association with systemic diseases such as sarcoidosis, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis. The disease is treated with local or systemic corticosteroids. Reaction to treatment can vary significantly. After a period of time that normally lasts from several months to several years, the condition disappears.

Cytomegalovirus retinitis is a disease that primarily appears in patients who are infected with HIV and very rarely in other patients whose immune system has been compromised. Patients usually suffer from blurred vision and can also experience deficit in their field of vision. The condition is treated with antiviral medications.

Eye histoplasmosis is inflammation of the retina that is caused by a fungus called Histoplasma Capsulatum. The fungus is found in soil and is spread in endemic areas by bird and bat excrement. Inflammation that appears in the retina following fungal infection is immune-mediated so that corticosteroids are used in treatment.

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