What is Ocular Inflammation?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2019
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Ocular inflammation, sometimes known as uveitis or eye inflammation, is an inflammation of the eyeball. This is often a symptom of several eye problems, including infection and trauma. Treatment of ocular inflammation often depends on the underlying cause, but it is often treated with steroid eye drops. If it is not treated properly, this type of inflammation can sometimes lead to serious eye or vision problems.

Signs of ocular inflammation can range from very mild to very severe, and they can afflict either one or both eyes. Redness, pain, swelling, and sensitivity to light are some of the most common signs of eye inflammation. Vision problems, such as floaters or blurriness, are also quite common. In the event of an eye infection, some patients may also experience a discharge from the eye.

Infection is one of the most common causes of ocular inflammation. A number of eye diseases can cause this symptom, including bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Pink eye is one of the most common eye infections. Other eye infections include fungal blephartis, irisitis, and retinitis. Some people with certain inflammatory diseases, like arthritis, may also be prone to frequent outbreaks of ocular inflammation.


Eye trauma, or eye injury, is the other common cause of ocular inflammation. When the soft, sensitive tissues of the eyeball are scratched or irritated, this can lead to inflammation and infection. Damage to the eyeball can occur in a number of ways. For example, sand or torn soft contact lenses on the surface of an eyeball can scratch the lens, as well as the surrounding tissue.

Ophthalmologists usually diagnose ocular inflammation after a complete eye exam. Sometimes he will be able to determine the cause of the problem as well as the best course of action simply by looking at the eyeball. Other times, a sample of blood or eye tissue may be needed to make a diagnosis.

Treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on the cause of the symptoms. Many times, corticosteroid eye drops will be used to relieve some of the inflammation. Eye drops that contain dilating agents may also be used, as well as antibiotics. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

An ocular inflammation that is not treated can lead to serious vision problems or other eye disorders down the road. Glaucoma could occur, and cataracts can form on the untreated eye. Other problems can include damage to both the optic nerve and the retina, as well as shrinking of the eyeball itself.



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