In an earlier chapter we have already seen that ‘the red eye’ is an important sign in ophthalmology, and there are a number of reasons why the eye may become inflamed. When the exposed parts of the eye such as the conjunctiva and the cornea are the primary sites of inflammation, the cause is usually infection or trauma. Common examples are chronic conjunctivitis or a corneal foreign body. However, here we are going to consider a type of inflammation which arises deeper in the eye and primarily from the uvea. The uvea has a tendency to become inflamed for no apparent external reason and in this respect can be compared to a joint; indeed, there is a recognised association between uveitis and arthritis. In spite of the fact that the eye is open to microscopic examination, the exact cause of uveitis is usually obscure, although there is evidence to indicate a relationship with other kinds of autoimmune disease. Uveitis can be divided into anterior or posterior uveitis; anterior uveitis is the same entity as iridocyclitis, and posterior uveitis is the same as choroiditis. Apart from the uvea, the sclera and the episclera (that is, the connective tissue deep to the conjunctiva and overlying the sclera) may also be affected by similar inflammatory changes.
KeywordsJuvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Anterior Uveitis Human Leucocyte Antigen Foreign Agent Posterior Uveitis
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