Uveitis& Vasculitis

Physicians
Bhairavi Dholakia, MD
Purnima Patel, MD
Steven Yeh, MD, director

Overview

Uveitis is a general term describing a group of inflammatory diseases affecting the eyes that can lead to slightly reduced vision or severe vision loss if not properly treated. While uveitis may occur at any age, working-aged individuals between 20 – 50 years old are affected most frequently.

The term "uveitis" is used because the diseases often affect a part of the eye called the uvea (i.e. iris, ciliary body and choroid). Nevertheless, uveitis is not limited to the uvea. These diseases may also affect the retina, optic nerve, lens, and vitreous, leading to reduced vision or blindness if not detected and treated.

Uveitis may be localized just to the eye or may occur as part of a systemic inflammatory disease affecting other parts of the body. Uveitis can last for a short (acute) or a long (chronic) time. The most severe forms of uveitis may recur many times during a patient's lifetime but with proper treatment, recurrences can be limited or eliminated altogether.

Symptoms

Uveitis can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms may develop rapidly and can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dark, floating spots in the vision (floaters)
  • Eye pain
  • Redness of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Small pupil

Anyone suffering eye pain, severe light sensitivity, and any change in vision should schedule an ophthalmology examination.

Joint Pediatric Rheumatology-Uveitis clinic

Emory offers a Joint Pediatric Rheumatology-Uveitis Clinic in collaboration with the Pediatric Rheumatology service at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). Joining Dr. Yeh in treating these children is CHOA pediatric rheumatologist Sheila Angeles-Han, MD, who holds research grants to study quality-of-life outcomes in children with uveitis. Yeh also has a Georgia Knights Templar grant to study pediatric uveitis outcomes following immunosuppressive treatment.

Dr. Angeles-Han and Yeh are collaborating on clinical care of patients with pediatric uveitis and research to assess quality-of-life issues in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis. They will correlate these quality of life measures with patient outcomes and hope to improve patient care through improved understanding of these pediatric eye conditions.