Definition of Iritis

Inflammation of the iris, the muscle surrounding the pupil of the eye – may develop as a result of infection, such as conjunctivitis that spreads to involve other structures of the eye.

Iritis also occurs as part of the inflammatory process in autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The Symptoms of Iritis Include

  • Irritation and a “gritty” sensation in the eye
  • Redness of the eye
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to bright light)
  • Blurry vision
  • Excessive tearing


The ophthalmologist can diagnose iritis based on the appearance of the iris and the eye, though will additionally perform a slit lamp examination to look for involvement of other structures of the eye.

Treatment is ophthalmic antibiotic medications (eye drops or ointment) when the ophthalmologist suspects bacterial infection and ophthalmic corticosteroid medications to reduce the inflammation.

When the cause of the inflammation is systemic, the ophthalmologist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids). Treatment usually resolves the symptoms without residual vision impairment.

Untreated or recurrent iritis can have long-lasting effects on vision, including increased intraocular pressure.


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