Iritis or inflammation of the iris is a rare condition of the eyes that affect less than 1% of the population. With proper diagnosis and treatment, this condition is often resolvable. Following are five signs of iritis that all people should be aware of. If you’ve been experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical advice from a uveitis specialist.
1. An Achy, Bloodshot Eye
One of the first and most common signs of iritis is an eye that is achy and bloodshot. While many people attribute this discomfort to normal eye irritation, the pain is usually persistent and will often be followed by the development of additional symptoms. This discomfort is the result of inflammation of the iris. It can also be felt as a dull or throbbing ache in the eye or around it.
2. Photophobia Or Sensitivity To Light
Once the iris becomes inflamed, many people develop photophobia or an inability to tolerate bright light. Immediately upon entering into a brightly lit area or stepping out into the natural sunlight, the affected eye will squeeze shut, in order to block out the brightness. The affected eye will often start to water, and you may not notice as your pupil struggles to adapt to exposed light. In a normal, healthy eye, the pupil will usually grow smaller when light exposure is increased. In people with iritis, however, the pupil does not change in size in accordance with the increase in light. This change in pupil response is the result of inflammation and the underlying cause of photophobia.
3. Blurred Vision
Many people start using eye drops on a regular basis in order to alleviate their growing discomfort and in the belief that they’re suffering from minor eye irritation. It is important to note that frequent and excessive use of eye drops can eventually lead to blurred vision. Blurry vision in people who suffer from iritis can also be the result of the inflammation of the iris.
4. Eye Floaters
Eye floaters are dark shadows and shapes that move across the surface of the eye and across the field of vision. They are most noticeable when looking at a background that is brightly lit, such as the afternoon sky. Floaters are debris from the inflammatory blood cells and can be seen as wispy dots or streaks. Eye floaters can be merely bothersome or they may have a significant impact on overall vision. Floaters are most common among people with acute iritis who have been dealing with photophobia and other iritis symptoms for some time.
5. Odd-Shaped Pupil
A small or oddly-shaped pupil is one of the top signs of iritis. The pupil can become misshapen as the result of inflammation that makes the iris become sticky and adhere to the lens. The lens sits close behind the iris. A misshapen pupil is referred to as Synechia and much like eye floaters, it is a sign of acute iritis and indicates that the problem is worsening and should be addressed right away.