Iritis or inflammation of the iris: Causes, symptoms and care tips for your eyes | Health - Hindustan Times

Iritis or inflammation of the iris: Causes, symptoms and care tips for your eyes

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jan 28, 2024 05:01 PM IST

Iritis or inflammation of the iris in eyes: Health experts reveal the root causes, signs and symptoms to watch out for, treatment and care tips

Located in the vibrant realm of the human eye, the iris, famed for its colour and role in controlling pupil size, occasionally falls prey to inflammation, a condition known as iritis. In the field of ophthalmology, this condition frequently demands attention and is also known as anterior uveitis but worry not as we got some eye experts on board to shed light on iritis, exploring its causes, symptoms and management strategies, catering to the affected populace and the wider audience.

Iritis or inflammation of the iris: Causes, symptoms and care tips for your eyes (Photo by Twitter/homeopathy360)
Iritis or inflammation of the iris: Causes, symptoms and care tips for your eyes (Photo by Twitter/homeopathy360)

Decoding iritis:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Puneet Jain, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, shared, “Iritis is the inflammation of the iris, the part of the eye that gives it its distinctive colour and regulates the amount of light that enters through the pupil. Classified as a type of anterior uveitis, iritis involves the inflammation of the front section of the uveal tract in the eye. Untreated, it can lead to serious complications affecting vision.”

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Root causes of iritis:

According to Dr Puneet Jain, the origins of iritis can be diverse -

1. Autoimmune disorders: Diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis are known triggers.

2. Infections: Certain bacterial, viral or fungal infections, including herpes zoster, syphilis and tuberculosis, may cause iritis.

3. Physical injury: Eye trauma is a potential catalyst.

4. Genetic predisposition: The presence of HLA-B27, a genetic marker, has been linked to an increased risk.

5. Idiopathic/Unknown causes: In numerous cases, the exact cause remains unidentified.

Dr Bhupesh Singh, Senior Ophthalmologist at Bharti Eye Hospitals, echoed, “Iritis can emerge from a variety of causes. It is often associated with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, can be a result of infections or even direct trauma to the eye. However, there are cases where we are unable to pinpoint the exact cause, which we refer to as idiopathic iritis.”

Identifying symptoms:

Dr Bhupesh Singh said, “The inflammation of the iris, the coloured part of the eye, manifests through distinct symptoms: redness, pain, increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and sometimes an irregularly shaped pupil. These symptoms are not just discomforting but are indicators of a condition that urgently needs medical intervention.”

Dr Puneet Jain revealed that the key indicators of iritis include -

1. Eye redness

2. Pain, often intensified by exposure to bright light

3. Blurred vision

4. An abnormally shaped or small pupil

5. Headache

Diagnosis and remedial measures:

Asserting that timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial, Dr Puneet Jain said that an ophthalmologist typically diagnoses iritis through -

1. Testing visual acuity.

2. Conducting a slit lamp examination.

3. Measuring intraocular pressure.

Dr Bhupesh Singh added, “To accurately diagnose iritis, a detailed examination is essential, predominantly involving a slit- lamp examination. At times, to unearth an underlying systemic cause, we might need to conduct additional investigations such as blood tests, skin tests, or X-rays.”


As per Dr Puneet Jain, the treatment generally entails -

1. Alleviating pain and inflammation using corticosteroid eye drops and eye drops to relax the pupillary muscles.

2. Treating any underlying causes, if known.

Dr Bhupesh Singh highlighted, “The approach to treating iritis is tailored to the individual’s specific needs, factoring in the severity of the inflammation and the underlying cause. Typically, this involves the use of corticosteroid eye drops to reduce inflammation and dilating drops to manage pain and prevent complications. In instances where an underlying systemic disease is detected, addressing that condition becomes an integral component of the treatment strategy. Patients with iritis must adhere strictly to their treatment plans and keep up with follow-up appointments. It’s not unusual for iritis to recur, necessitating long-term monitoring.”

Supportive care and prevention tactics:

In addition to medical treatment, Dr Puneet Jain suggested that patients can adopt the following self-care practices -

1. Wearing sunglasses to shield the eyes from bright light.

2. Reducing eye strain especially digital eye strain

3. Strict adherence to prescribed eyedrops

He insisted, “Prevention largely depends on the underlying causes. Regular health check-ups, a healthy lifestyle, and protective eyewear can reduce some risks. With prompt detection and proper medical intervention, iritis can be effectively managed. Iritis can be recurrent and needs regular follow-ups as advised by the treating ophthalmologist Being vigilant about symptoms and ensuring regular eye exams are key to averting complications and maintaining overall ocular health.”

Dr Bhupesh Singh concluded, “Identifying the symptoms of iritis and seeking prompt medical care are crucial for a positive outcome. Timely and appropriate treatment usually leads to favourable results but ignoring the symptoms can lead to severe complications, such as glaucoma, cataracts or even loss of vision. Therefore, understanding and prioritising eye health, especially in conditions like iritis, is of paramount importance.”

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