Uveitis: a sight-threatening disease which can impact all systems

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Uveitis describes a group of conditions characterised by intraocular inflammation. The term uveitis technically describes inflammation of the uvea which comprises the iris, ciliary body and choroid, however now encompasses inflammation of adjacent intraocular structures such as the retina, vitreous and optic nerve. Uveitis is a significant cause of blindness worldwide, but its impact is generally underappreciated due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the condition among the public and most non-ophthalmic healthcare professionals. In this review, we provide an introduction to uveitis for the non-specialist, outlining the clinical presentations that should raise the suspicion of the disease, the signs that should be looked for and a framework in which to understand the condition. We show how a logical approach to classifying uveitis by aetiology and anatomical focus of disease provides the basis for treatment strategies (drug and route of administration) and clinical presentation and prognosis. We also show why understanding uveitis is helpful to clinicians working in almost every speciality due to the wide-ranging associations with systemic disease.

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