Comprehensive care for chronic eye inflammation
Uveitis may be the cause if you experience eye pain, redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity and floaters. As a leading cause of preventable blindness, uveitis requires an accurate diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment. Uveitis specialists at Duke Eye Center use sophisticated imaging techniques, and medical and surgical treatments to reduce active uveitis inflammation and preserve your vision while minimizing and managing the complications that are sometimes associated with uveitis treatments.
Seek care from a uveitis specialist
Uveitis is a rare, complex condition that can cause chronic inflammation in the front, middle or back of the eye. Active inflammation requires immediate care by an experienced ophthalmologist. While a specific cause may not be found, the chronic eye inflammation can be caused by an autoimmune disorder such as sarcoidosis, or it may result from an infection or trauma to the eye.
Without proper treatment and management, uveitis can result in vision impairment, glaucoma, cataracts or retinal swelling. A team of specialists, such as the experts that manage Duke Eye Center’s uveitis clinic, can ensure you get the proper diagnosis and comprehensive care you need.
- The uveitis clinic at the Duke Eye Center is staffed by ophthalmologists with advanced training and experience in managing uveitis, as well as experts in glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disease. A rheumatologist is also on staff. We coordinate your appointments so you can meet with these and other specialists as needed.
- Infectious uveitis often requires specific treatment tailored to the infection. Duke’s uveitis specialists use specially compounded medications that are not readily available to treat different types of eye infections.
- Duke’s uveitis specialists have been studying effective uveitis treatments for more than 30 years. We were instrumental in the development of a new steroid delivery system and were involved in the clinical trials that led to the 2016 FDA approval of the non-steroidal biologic drug Humira (adalimumab) to treat uveitis. We continue to participate in clinical trials and research to broaden our understanding of uveitis and effective treatments.
- Your care at the Duke Eye Center includes education about your condition, and access to our low vision rehabilitation program, which offers tools for living with impaired vision. Our dedicated social worker is also available to help you and your loved ones manage your care and maximize your quality of life.
Steroid eye drops, eye injections, and oral or intravenous medications are often the first line of treatment for non-infectious uveitis. Sustained doses of steroids may also be delivered directly to the eye through a tiny, biodegradable implant that is injected into the gel of the eye. This provides longer-term control of inflammation. Because long-term use of steroids taken by mouth can have serious side effects, other types of medication may be recommended.
Drugs that suppress an overactive immune system may be recommended if long-term treatment is required to control chronic eye inflammation. These medications require frequent monitoring of blood work for potential side effects.
Biologics control inflammation by blocking specific proteins in the body. They do not carry the same side effects as steroids, and may sometimes be recommended for longer-term control of chronic inflammation. Adalimumab is the first approved biologic for the treatment of uveitis. It can be administered at home via an injection under the skin, typically every two weeks.
Look for inflammatory, autoimmune and infectious causes of uveitis.
Fluid samples from the eye can sometimes help identify the cause of uveitis. An aqueous fluid sample may be obtained from the front of the eye during a clinic visit. A vitreous sample may be obtained from the back of the eye during vitrectomy surgery in the operating room.
Various types of retinal imaging, often combined with a dye injection (angiography), can confirm a diagnosis of uveitis, document lesions and scarring, and monitor the progression of uveitis.
Looks for signs of sarcoidosis or tuberculosis.