Iridocyclitis is simultaneous inflammation of the iris and ciliary body. The causes are varied and specialist treatment is always required. Impaired vision and even complete blindness are a consequence of iridocyclitis if it is not cured quickly.
What is iridocyclitis?
Characteristic symptoms of iridocyclitis include blurred vision and eye pain. Those affected suffer from excessive sensitivity to light and experience double vision.
Iridocyclitis is inflammation inside the eye. The iris is affected on the one hand and the ciliary body on the other. This is a ring-shaped structure that on the one hand serves as a suspension for the iris and on the other hand effects lens accommodation (adjustment of visual acuity) with a muscle that is also ring-shaped. See wholevehicles for What are the Meanings of Hormonal Hair Loss.
The iris has its own muscular structures and works like the aperture of a camera. Due to the close anatomical relationship between the iris and the ciliary body, inflammation of both organs usually occurs in combination. Therefore, according to the definition, there is a compact clinical picture called iridocyclitis.
As an inflammatory disease, iridocyclitis is basically due to two causes:
- Bacterialor viral infections. Infection with gonococci (“ gonorrhea ”) or with herpes viruses (herpes simplex or herpes zoster: “ shingles ”) spread to the region of the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye. Infections with the bacterium Leptospira are very rarely the cause (Morbus Weil).
- Non-infectious causes. Very different triggers play a role here. Irritant chemicals are known to be an agent, but underlying systemic diseases are far more commonly the cause of iridocyclitis. A number of autoimmune diseases of the rheumatic type result in eye irritation.
Juvenile arthritis and chronic intestinal inflammation (Crohn’s disease) are known triggers, as well as diseases of the connective tissue such as sarcoid and Sjögren’s syndrome. Bechterew’s syndrome is probably also based on an autoimmune disorder. This disease, primarily of the spine, is also a trigger of iridocyclitis.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Characteristic symptoms of iridocyclitis include blurred vision and eye pain. Those affected suffer from excessive sensitivity to light and experience double vision. Depending on the type and severity of the eye inflammation, other visual disturbances can occur, such as blurred vision or a partial loss of visual field.
In severe cases, there is temporary blindness in one or both eyes. Externally, the disease can be recognized by the color changes of the pupil. Adhesions between the iris and the cornea indicate iridocyclitis. A clear sign are the deposits of protein in the area of the cornea. The pupil reacts more slowly to movements, and the gaze often appears disoriented.
Usually both eyes are affected by the adhesions and reaction disorders. Initially, however, the iridocyclitis only occurs on one side. If left untreated, damage to the ciliary body will continue, eventually leading to shrinkage of the entire eye.
The result is the blindness of the patient. If the disease is recognized and treated early, serious complications can be prevented. The symptoms then subside after a few weeks without the person concerned having to fear long-term consequences or further complications.
Diagnosis & History
Iridocyclitis causes painful eyes and patients become overly sensitive to light, making them easily blinded. In addition, there are visual disturbances. With an ophthalmoscope (ophthalmoscopy), the specialist recognizes the typical picture with a clouding of the aqueous humor.
It is also possible that the iris and cornea or even the lens have become stuck together. If it has come to this, both eyes will already be affected, because initially iridocyclitis begins on one side only. Treatment by the ophthalmologist can now prevent possible serious consequences of iridocyclitis. This can not only lead to calcium infiltration in the cornea, but also to green (glaucoma) and cataracts (cataracta complicata).
When the ciliary body is damaged to the point where it no longer secretes aqueous humor, the entire eye begins to shrink. In the course of such a development, blindness is ultimately a consequence of iridocyclitis.
Iridocyclitis usually causes problems in the eyes. In most cases, those affected suffer from visual problems and poor eyesight. Furthermore, if left untreated, the patient may become completely blind. It is not uncommon for visual problems, especially in young patients, to lead to depression and other psychological upsets.
The patient’s quality of life is significantly reduced by iridocyclitis. In some cases, the person concerned is then dependent on the help of other people in everyday life. There is also a high sensitivity to light. It is not uncommon for the reaction of the pupil to be slowed down and there is also pain in the eyes. The eye pain can often spread to other areas of the body and lead to pain and various complaints there.
Treatment of iridocyclitis is usually carried out by an ophthalmologist and does not lead to further complications. The affected person is dependent on taking medication. These can cause side effects in some patients. Life expectancy is not affected by iridocyclitis. In some cases, antibiotics may also be required.
When should you go to the doctor?
If symptoms such as eye pain, sensitivity to light or blurred vision are noticed, a doctor should always be consulted. If the symptoms appear suddenly and have not subsided after a week at the latest, it is best to see your family doctor. A doctor should be consulted on the same day if other symptoms such as adhesions between the iris and the cornea or changes in the color of the pupil occur. Medical advice is required at the latest when vision begins to decline or even complete blindness occurs.
The disease can be treated well if it is recognized and treated early. It is best for people who suffer from the symptoms mentioned to consult an ophthalmologist or a general practitioner. Iridocyclitis occurs mainly in connection with viral infections and after contact with irritating chemicals. Chronic intestinal inflammation such as Crohn’s disease and diseases of the connective tissue such as sarcoid can also cause the symptoms. Anyone who belongs to these risk groups should contact the responsible doctor if they experience the symptoms mentioned.
Treatment & Therapy
Depending on the cause, iridocyclitis requires various causal therapies. If systemic underlying diseases are present, your appropriate specialist must be consulted. In the case of non-infectious inflammation triggers, this will usually be the rheumatologist.
The ophthalmologist (ophthalmologist) treats the symptoms in the eye with glucocorticoids. These cortisone-like drugs have an anti-inflammatory effect and are initially used as eye drops. If this does not lead to success, the preparations are applied as oral medication. Immunosuppressants, which represent an alternative to hormone preparations, are also suitable for reducing the inflammatory reactions.
Because glucocorticoids cause serious side effects, including those eye diseases that should actually be prevented. As a further medication, the patient receives eye drops that cause the pupil to dilate temporarily. This effect – for example of atropine – consists in the fact that the iris remains in motion and does not stick to the lens or the cornea.
In the case of infectious iridocyclitis, the doctor must fight the pathogens. Antibiotics target invading bacteria and antivirals inhibit virus replication. Infrared radiation causes general relief in iridocyclitis.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of iridocyclitis depends on the causative disorder. If the affected person has been exposed to irritating chemicals, spontaneous healing occurs in most cases within a short period of time. A doctor is not needed in these situations. In the future, protective measures for the eyes should be increased or the affected areas should be avoided.
In the case of an infection by viruses or bacteria, without medical care, the existing symptoms will increase. The pathogens multiply and can spread further in the organism. In people with a weakened immune system, the spread of inflammation is to be expected. There is a risk of reduced vision and, in exceptional cases, blindness of the affected person.
If drug treatment is initiated in good time, an alleviation of the symptoms will be documented. As soon as the drugs show their effect, the germs die off and are automatically removed from the organism. At the same time, a regeneration process takes place. This minimizes the existing symptoms and gradually initiates recovery. The prognosis in these cases is favorable. Nevertheless, in the course of life, a renewed attack by viruses or bacteria can occur. The disease can break out again at any time. The prognosis in the event of re-infestation of the pathogens remains favorable as long as medical treatment takes place at an early stage.
Preventing iridocyclitis in a general and specific way defies simple measures. If the systemic underlying diseases mentioned are detected, the ophthalmologist should be informed about this during the routine check-up. As an enlightened patient, everyone should keep in mind that infectious diseases tend to spread throughout the body. You are well advised to take care of your eyes here. If a complete avoidance is not possible, then a very early treatment of iridocyclitis.
In the case of iridocyclitis, those affected usually have no or very few options for direct aftercare. First and foremost, a doctor should be consulted very early on with this disease, so that no further complications or symptoms can occur. Early detection of the disease has a very positive effect on the further course and can also prevent further deterioration of the symptoms.
In most cases, patients are dependent on taking various medications and also on the use of eye drops. Always follow the doctor’s instructions. The medication should be taken in the correct dosage and, above all, regularly. Care should be taken not to take antibiotics with alcohol.
Regular checks and examinations by a doctor are also necessary for iridocyclitis so that damage to the eyes can be recognized and treated at an early stage. As a rule, self-healing cannot occur. The further course depends heavily on the time of diagnosis, although life expectancy is usually not reduced by iridocyclitis.
You can do that yourself
Iridocyclitis definitely requires medical treatment. The individual symptoms can be alleviated by some self-help measures and home remedies.
First of all, measures should be taken to counter the glare sensitivity of the eyes. This can be done by darkening your home, wearing dark sunglasses outdoors, and not looking directly at the sun or bright lights. If possible, work on the computer screen should be avoided, and reading or watching TV should be severely restricted. Contact lenses may only be used again after consultation with the doctor. The doctor will recommend that the patient switch to glasses until the condition has completely resolved.
In general, the best way to treat iridocyclitis is to follow the eye doctor ‘s instructions. The prescribed eye drops should be used as directed and, if necessary, supplemented with oral medication. Home remedies should not be used initially, as they can further strain the eye. Cooling pads or masks may only be used after the illness has subsided to support aftercare. These measures should also be discussed with the ophthalmologist beforehand.