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What is iritis?

Iritis is inflammation of your iris. The iris is the colored part of your eye.

Lateral cut-away of the Right Eye

What causes iritis?

The following are common causes of iritis:

  • Viruses, bacteria, and fungi
  • Trauma
  • Diseases, such as tuberculosis or syphilis

What are the signs and symptoms of iritis?

  • Pain
  • Red eye
  • Watery eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light

How is iritis diagnosed?

Your caregiver will ask about your symptoms and when they started. You may also need any of the following tests:

  • Slit-lamp exam: Your caregiver shines a bright light in your eye to check for inflammation. You may need eyedrops to dilate your pupils. This helps your caregiver have a better view of the inside of your eye.
  • Tonometry: This test measures your eye pressure. Your eyes are numbed with eyedrops and your caregiver touches your eyes with an instrument. Or, a puff of air is blown into your eyes and the pressure is measured with a light.

How is iritis treated?

Iritis may go away on its own. You may need any of the following treatments:

  • Cycloplegics: These eyedrops dilate your pupil and relax your eye muscles. This helps decrease pain and light sensitivity.
  • Steroids: These eyedrops help decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain. You can buy acetaminophen without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

What are the risks of iritis?

Without treatment, iritis can lead to glaucoma (increased eye pressure) or vision loss. You may also develop cataracts (cloudy vision). Scar tissue can form near your pupil and cause it to change shape.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Apply a warm compress to your eye: Wet a washcloth in warm water and wring it out. Place it gently over your eye for 20 minutes 3 to 4 times each day. This will help soothe your eye and decrease inflammation.
  • Wear dark sunglasses: This will help prevent pain and light sensitivity.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your pain gets worse, even after treatment.
  • You see halos or rainbows around lights.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have severe eye pain and a headache.
  • Your vision suddenly gets worse.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.