Anterior uveitis, also known as iritis, is a painful condition characterized by inflammation within the front part of the eye. Various factors can contribute to the development of this condition, ranging from external injuries such as scratches on the eye to underlying autoimmune disorders. In this blog, we will explore some of the autoimmune conditions associated with anterior uveitis.
Anterior Uveitis from Autoimmune Conditions
Anterior uveitis is often linked to autoimmune conditions, which are characterized by the immune system mistakenly attacking the body’s own tissues. These conditions can result in systemic inflammation that can affect different organs in the body, including the eyes. Here are some of the autoimmune conditions commonly associated with anterior uveitis:
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that primarily affects the joints. However, it can also have extra-articular manifestations, including uveitis. Around 20-30% of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may develop anterior uveitis at some point.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Systemic lupus erythematosus is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect various organs, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, and eyes. Uveitis can occur in individuals with SLE as a result of the immune system’s attack on the eye tissues.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory arthritis primarily affecting the spine and sacroiliac joints. It is also associated with uveitis, particularly in the early stages of the disease. Anterior uveitis occurs in approximately 25-40% of individuals with ankylosing spondylitis.
Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These conditions involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Approximately 2-7% of individuals with IBD may develop uveitis, predominantly anterior uveitis.
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by scaly patches, while psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that develops in some individuals with psoriasis. Both conditions are associated with an increased risk of uveitis, particularly anterior uveitis.
It is essential to note that these are just a few examples of autoimmune conditions associated with anterior uveitis. There are other autoimmune disorders, such as Behçet’s disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and sarcoidosis, which can also be connected to uveitis. It is crucial for individuals diagnosed with these autoimmune conditions to be aware of the potential risk and monitor their eye health regularly.
It is even possible that there is no diagnosed autoimmune condition, there may be an undiagnosed risk factor that is present and leading to the anterior uveitis.
If you experience symptoms such as eye redness, eye pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, or changes in vision, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. An eye care professional will be able to evaluate your symptoms, conduct a thorough examination, and determine the appropriate course of treatment for your specific case of anterior uveitis.
If an autoimmune condition is suspected, a referral for blood work and a consultation with your primary care doctor will be recommended.