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Treatment for Iritis

Healthcare provider examining woman's eyes.
Follow-up exams are important to help prevent complications from iritis.
Iritis is the inflammation of parts of the eye. It causes pain, sensitivity to light, and other problems. Iritis can lead to severe eyesight loss and even blindness.

Types of treatment        

Treatment depends on what is causing your iritis and how severe it is. Treatment should be done quickly to prevent damage to the eyes. Treatments may include:

  • Antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection of your eye

  • Antiviral medicines to treat a viral infection of your eye

  • Steroid medicines to treat inflammation

  • Eye drops to dilate your eye. This may prevent some complications.

  • In rare cases immunosuppressive medicines like cyclosporine or etanercept

You may have medicines as eye drops, by mouth, through an IV line, or as an injection around your eye.

Possible complications of iritis

If iritis is treated right away, it will likely not cause any other problems. In some cases it can cause complications. Your risk for these varies depending on your age, your health, and the cause of your iritis. Possible complications include:

  • Glaucoma, from increased pressure inside the eye

  • Iris attachment to other parts of the eye (synechiae)

  • Clouding of the lens (cataract)

  • Inflammation of the fluid in the middle of the eye

  • Inflammation of the retina

  • Swelling of the back of the eye (macular edema)

  • Calcium deposits on the cornea (band keratopathy)

  • Optic nerve damage

If severe, problems like these can cause partial or total loss of eyesight. Your eye doctor will try to prevent these problems by treating your iritis right away. You may need to take medicine often to calm the inflammation in your eye.

You may need medicine or surgery to treat some problems. For example, medicine may be given to treat glaucoma. Or you may need surgery to remove a cataract or your cornea.

If you’re at risk for iritis

If you have an autoimmune disease, take your medicines as prescribed. This may help to prevent iritis. You may reduce your chance for complications if you see your eye care doctor at the first sign of symptoms. Make sure to keep any follow-up appointments. These are to make sure your iritis responds to treatment.

If you have certain health conditions, you may need regular eye exams to check for early signs of iritis. Keep all your appointments. This may help prevent complications from iritis.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Eye pain

  • Loss of some eyesight

  • Symptoms that get worse, or don’t get better with treatment

  • New symptoms

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.