Specialized Care for Inflammatory Eye Disease

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Duke Health uveitis specialists provide comprehensive care for uveitis, a rare inflammatory eye disease that can cause vision loss and other serious complications if left undiagnosed and untreated. 

Duke's team of uveitis specialists includes ophthalmologists and rheumatologists. We work together in one clinic to ensure your care is seamless and comprehensive. We use advanced diagnostic tests to identify your uveitis's type and possible cause. We recommend treatments to manage and prevent further eye damage and reduce chronic inflammation. Our ongoing care also includes the detection and treatment of complications that can be associated with uveitis treatments.

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About Uveitis

Uveitis is a rare, complex condition that may result in eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity, or floaters. The type of uveitis you have depends on which part/s of the eye is affected -- the front, middle, or the back. Panuveitismeans more than one part of the eye is affected. Common causes include infections, trauma, and autoimmune or inflammatory diseases. However, a cause is not always known. If not properly treated by a trained uveitis specialist, the inflammatory eye disease may lead to glaucoma, cataracts, retinal swelling, or permanent vision impairment.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Diagnosing Uveitis

Our specialists may perform several tests to make an accurate diagnosis and identify or exclude possible causes of uveitis. In roughly 50% of cases, no obvious cause is detected. 

Blood Tests

Blood tests look for inflammatory, autoimmune, and infectious conditions that may cause uveitis.


A chest X-ray can help identify signs of tuberculosis or sarcoidosis, a disease that affects the lungs and lymph glands.

Fluid Samples

An aqueous fluid sample may be obtained from the front of the eye during a clinic visit to help identify the cause of uveitis. If needed, a vitreous sample may be taken from the back of the eye during vitrectomy surgery, which is performed in the operating room.

Retinal Imaging

Various types of retinal imaging, often combined with a dye injection (angiography), can help to confirm a diagnosis of uveitis and determine the extent of disease activity, lesions, and scarring. During follow-up, retinal imaging is performed to monitor the progression of uveitis and response to treatment.

Advanced Imaging

MRI or CT scans can detect an autoimmune condition or other causes of uveitis.

Uveitis Treatments

Our ophthalmologists and rheumatology providers conduct a thorough evaluation to determine which treatment is best for you. They may recommend one or more of the following.


Steroids in the form of 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 can have serious side effects, other types of medication may be recommended, depending on the degree of inflammation.


Biologics are immunosuppressive medications that control inflammation by blocking specific proteins in the body. They can be administered at home via an injection under the skin or intravenous infusion at an infusion center. Although they do not have the same side effects as steroids, these medications are typically prescribed and managed by a rheumatology provider and may require frequent monitoring.

Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

DMARDs are a class of immunosuppressive mediations that block specific inflammatory pathways in the body.

Best Eye Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our ophthalmology program is ranked seventh in the nation and is the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

Why Choose Duke

Multiple Specialists in One Uveitis Clinic
The Duke Uveitis Clinic in the Duke Eye Center is staffed by ophthalmologists and rheumatology providers with advanced training and experience in managing uveitis. You will receive an eye exam, a comprehensive treatment plan, and ongoing follow-up appointments to manage your medications. If complications arise, such as glaucoma or cataracts, our uveitis specialists work closely with experts in these eye diseases to manage your condition.

How the Clinic Works
You will see an ophthalmologist first for an eye exam, determine the cause of your eye inflammation, and start appropriate treatment. If your eye condition is inflammatory and needs further evaluation or systemic treatment, you may see a rheumatology provider in the same clinic. Your rheumatology provider will also determine if an autoimmune disease is the cause. The rheumatology provider may also prescribe and manage your medications. Follow-up visits with the rheumatology provider may occur on the same day as your ophthalmologist visit for your convenience and to ensure you receive coordinated care. 

Learn to Manage Your Condition
Your care 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. 

More Than 30 Years of Innovative Research
Duke’s uveitis specialists studied effective treatments for more than 30 years. We helped to develop a new steroid delivery system and were involved in the clinical trials that led to the FDA approval of the first biologic drug to treat uveitis. We participate in clinical trials and research to broaden our understanding of uveitis and effective treatments. 

Access to Clinical Trials
You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that test new therapies. Our providers also help to create nationally standardized treatment guidelines for inflammatory eye conditions, which makes the best possible care more widely available.

This page was medically reviewed on 03/25/2024 by