Anterior Uveitis

Anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, which includes the iris and adjacent structures.

Last Updated: March 27, 2023

What is anterior uveitis?

Anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, which includes the iris and adjacent structures.1 As a result of the inflammation, the blood vessels of these structures leak white blood cells and proteins into the cavity in the front of the eye known as the anterior chamber.1 Anterior uveitis is not an infection and it is not contagious. The symptoms of Anterior uveitis may include red eyes, blurry vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain. It is important to seek care from an optometrist if you experience any of these symptoms.1 

What causes anterior uveitis?

The cause of anterior uveitis is often idiopathic, meaning the condition arises spontaneous for an unknown reason.2 In cases of anterior uveitis that reoccur, additional blood tests and x-rays may be done to investigate the cause.2 Some of these causes include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, herpes virus infection, sarcoidosis, syphilis, Lyme disease, tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, rubella, Bechet’s disease, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease, leprosy, malignancy and eye injury.2

How is anterior uveitis treated?

Anterior uveitis needs to be treated in a timely manner to avoid permanent damage to the eye and vision loss.3 Treatment includes using steroid eye drops to reduce the inflammation and dilating eye drops to reduce the pain in the eye.1 Severe cases may warrant treatment with eye injections or oral medications.1 A patient recovering from anterior uveitis is slowly tapered off the steroid eye drop to reduce the chance of a rebound effect and reoccurrences.1 Wearing sunglasses can help with light sensitivity.

Anterior Uveitis

Image courtesy of the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Published in: Community Eye Health Journal Vol. 18 No. 53 MARCH 2005


  1. Agrawal et al. Current approach in diagnosis and management of anterior uveitis. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2010;58(1):11-19.
  2. McCannel et al. Causes of uveitis in the general practice of ophthalmology. Am J Ophthalmol. 1996;121:35-46.
  3. Al-Ani et al. Vision loss in anterior uveitis. Br J Ophthalmol. 2020;104(12):1652-1657.