It could be allergies. It could be a minor infection. But it could also be something a lot more serious — like uveitis. Besides the redness, pain and swelling, you might feel like you’re very sensitive to light. Everything might look blurry. You might see bursts of light or things floating in the air. And everything you do to get whatever’s in there out doesn’t work or makes it worse.
If this is happening to you, you need to see a specialist as soon as possible. If left untreated, you could lose your vision. There are only a few experts in uveitis in the nation, and Cleveland Clinic is home to several of them. They’re highly skilled and trained in diagnosing and treating uveitis and any health conditions that could be causing it.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Uveitis Care?
Our clinical trials and other research help us learn more about uveitis. If you qualify, you may be able to participate in these trials, which offer the newest ways to diagnose and treat uveitis before they’re available elsewhere.
If your uveitis is related to another health condition, we can quickly connect you with an expert in that field, such as a rheumatologist, dermatologist, neurologist or pulmonologist. Your ophthalmologist (eye specialist) and other medical specialists will work together to create a care plan that’s just for you. Meet our team.
Seeing more than one specialist can mean lots of appointments. We want to make things as easy as possible for you. We try our best to coordinate your appointments so you can see several specialists on the same day.
We’ll listen to your goals when we create your treatment plan. You’ll have a say in all decisions about how we manage your uveitis.
Cleveland Clinic is home to many subspecialty-trained uveitis experts. These specialists are board-certified ophthalmologists with extra fellowship training and lots of experience diagnosing and treating uveitis. People travel from around the world for uveitis care at Cleveland Clinic.
Many different things can lead to uveitis — like infections, injuries, surgeries and autoimmune (inflammatory) diseases. Knowing if something is causing your uveitis is important when it comes to creating your treatment plan. Our specialists use a comprehensive approach to find out if there’s an underlying cause. We treat that cause and your uveitis at the same time.
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named us a top hospital in the world.
Uveitis Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
There are many possible causes of uveitis, including infections, such as herpes or chickenpox, eye surgery, an injury to your eye and autoimmune (inflammatory) diseases, like lupus or sarcoidosis. And sometimes, uveitis just happens and we don’t know why.
If you have a medical condition that might be causing your uveitis, it’s important to find out what it is so we can give you the best treatment. Be prepared for your first appointment with us to last a lot longer — up to four hours — than a typical visit or eye exam.
Your healthcare provider will dig deep to find out what’s going on. They’ll want to know all about your symptoms, including when they started and if they’ve gotten worse. Your provider will also ask about any other medical conditions you have, your overall health and if you take any medications. And then they’ll do an eye exam to check your vision and how healthy your eyes are.
Here are a few more tests your provider might want to do, too:
- Blood tests and urine (pee) sample to check for infection and rule out any autoimmune diseases.
- Fluorescein angiography, which uses an orange dye and special light to find eye injuries.
- Indocyanine green angiography (ICG), which uses ICG dye to show blood flow in your choroid (blood vessels underneath your retina).
- MRI or X-rays on other areas of your body to find other health conditions.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT), which uses light waves to take detailed pictures of the back of your eye.
- Ultrasound of your eye to check for inflammation.
Your Cleveland Clinic uveitis care team
At Cleveland Clinic, we have a huge team of medical specialists who can consult and work together with our ophthalmologists so you get the best, most thorough care. If we think you might have a health condition that’s causing your uveitis, we can quickly team up with a Cleveland Clinic expert in that field.
For example, your care team may include:
- Cardiologists (heart specialists).
- Dermatologists (skin specialists).
- Neurologists (brain and nervous system specialists).
- Pulmonologists (lung specialists).
- Rheumatologists (immune disorders specialists).
- Nephrologists (kidney specialists).
And because we know you have more to do than travel back and forth seeing specialists, our nurse coordinators can often schedule more than one appointment on the same day for your convenience.
Who Treat Uveitis
Uveitis Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
We treat both your uveitis and any condition that could be causing it. Many people with uveitis are actually undertreated. Some providers focus only your uveitis symptoms but don’t treat any underlying causes. At Cleveland Clinic, we treat your uveitis and any other conditions related to it at the same time. We can also treat uveitis that has no known cause. You’ll always get comprehensive care at Cleveland Clinic.
Your care team will put together a treatment plan to:
- Correct blurred vision.
- Get rid of dark spots in your vision.
- Make your eyes less red and irritated.
- Prevent further vision loss.
- Reduce sensitivity to light.
- Relieve eye pain and pressure.
Your treatment options may include:
- Antibiotics, antiviral medications or antifungal drugs to fight infections.
- Eye drops to reduce your pain and swelling and keep your iris (colored part of your eye) and lens from sticking together.
- Immunosuppressants to calm your immune system.
- Steroids (drops, pills, shots, IV infusion or capsule implanted in your eye) to reduce swelling in your eye.
Uveitis Follow-up at Cleveland Clinic
Sometimes uveitis goes away quickly, but it can come back even after you’re treated. Uveitis can also be a chronic (lifelong) condition. Your Cleveland Clinic specialist will check on you often throughout your treatment and recovery. Your follow-up plan may include:
- Appointments every few weeks, months and every year (or as needed).
- Bloodwork and other tests to make sure you’re healthy and to watch for any signs of toxicity from treatment.
Taking the Next Step
Your eyes are one of the most important parts of your body. Anything that causes you eye pain or vision loss is serious and shouldn’t be ignored. Our eye specialists are ready to help. And if it’s uveitis, the sooner you start treatment, the better chance we have of restoring or saving your vision.
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