General information on Anterior Uveitis
Anterior uveitis, also known as soft eye, is the inflammation of the front part of the eye, the uvea, which contains the blood vessels. The iris and the ciliary body may also be affected by the inflammation as well. The main cause of anterior uveitis is an autoimmune complex that gets into the anterior chamber and attacks its own tissue. Some other causes of anterior uveitis can be corneal ulceration, trauma to the eye, infections, tumors, a metabolic disease that is not in the eye, but is affecting it, or for unknown reasons. Anterior uveitis can be very painful for the dog and can cause severe damage to the dog’s vision. Also, anterior uveitis can be a symptom of a different disease that the dog may also be affected by. A dog that has or has just had anterior uveitis may develop cataracts, secondary glaucoma, sunken eye, or blindness.
Symptoms of Anterior Uveitis
Some of the symptoms of anterior uveitis may be tearing, squinting, redness, small pupil, unevenly shaped pupil, cloudy appearance of the eye, uneven pigmentation of the iris, protrusion of the third eyelid, and the affected eye may feel softer than a normal eye. The affected eye feeling softer than a normal eye is a common and distinguishing characteristic of anterior uveitis, but is not always present.
Treatments for Anterior Uveitis
The treatment for anterior uveitis is immunosuppressant medications, local and systemic corticosteroids, and medications that dilate the pupil. These medications may be topical or oral. Should the cause of the anterior uveitis be known, antibiotics, anti-fungal, or anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed dependent on the cause. In some cases, surgery is a necessary treatment for cases in which medications cannot control the problem. In instances where the cause of the anterior uveitis is a tumor, the tumor must be surgically removed. In other instances, cataracts or glaucoma may develop as a result of the anterior uveitis and may need to be surgically corrected.
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