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Can Psoriasis Affect Your Eyes?

Psoriasis is a condition wherein skin cells build up to form scaly, dry, itchy patches. However, this ailment is much beyond just a simple skin disease. One of the prime concerns is how it affects the health of your eyes. Psoriasis skin flare-ups around the eyes can lead to eye sight-related issues. Psoriasis around the eyes can lead to uveitis and iritis. Read on to know more about these conditions and its treatment.

What Is Uveitis?

The middle layer of the eye's surface is called uvea. An inflammation of this part is called uveitis. The uvea also consists of the iris. In case the uveitis is localized at the front portion of the eye, then the condition turns into iritis, also otherwise referred to as anterior uveitis.

Uveitis could occur in the form of being localized to the ciliary body. This is the part that produces the fluid that fills up our eyes (aqueous humour). Uveitis could also be localized around the choroid. This is the part containing small blood vessels, present behind the retina.


Based on where it is localized, uveitis can be classified as:

• Anterior uveitis: Inflammation of just the iris or iris along with the ciliary body.
• Intermediate uveitis: Inflammation of the ciliary body.
• Posterior uveitis: Inflammation of the choroid.
• Diffuse uveitis: Inflammation of all the portions of the uvea.


Symptoms of uveitis

The following are some of the symptoms of uveitis:
• Sensitivity to bright lights
• Redness of eye
• Blurry vision
• Appearance of floaters in the field of vision
• Pain in the eye


Treatment of uveitis

An ophthalmologist will examine your eyes to reach a diagnosis. Your doctor might also want to discuss the issue with the doctor who has been treating you for psoriasis.

Ideally, corticosteroid eye drops can be given to reduce the inflammation. In the case of recurring symptoms, a systemic drug to suppress your immune system may be needed. This would be able to fight the root cause of the inflammation. Surgery might be necessary in case cataract or glaucoma is detected along with uveitis.

Leaving uveitis untreated can lead to irreversible damages as the eye tissues are highly delicate. Therefore, early detection is essential. When uveitis occurs in association with psoriasis, then the person is believed to have more recurrent issues with uveitis when compared to it occurring without psoriasis.

A long-acting corticosteroid drug implant called dexamethasone intravitreal implant has been approved for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis, wherein it has affected the back segment of the eye. These implants are FDA approved.

In case of anterior uveitis, in addition to steroids, pupil-dilating eye drops can be prescribed to reduce pain. Eye drops might also be required to reduce the intraocular pressure in case you have developed high eye pressure that usually occurs due to uveitis.


What Is Iritis?

Iris is the pigmented membrane that provides the eye its colour. The iris is responsible for controlling the amount of light that enters the pupil. When the iris becomes inflamed as a result of psoriasis, it is called iritis.

Psoriasis is a disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. Iritis can occur as a result of this ailment. Iritis is similar to uveitis. Iritis is the term used when uveitis is localized at the front region of the eye. Iritis is also otherwise called anterior uveitis.


Symptoms of iritis

This ailment generally affects one eye. The following are the usual symptoms:
• Pain in the eye and around the brow region
• Red eye (excessive redness adjacent to the iris)
• Blurry vision
• Headache
• Small-shaped pupil
• Eye pain that worsens when exposed to bright light


Treatment of iritis

Without early detection and treatment, this ailment can cause irreversible damages leading to permanent vision loss. Diagnosis of iritis is done by examining the eye with a special microscope designed for eye checkups (called a slit lamp). The doctor checks for the presence of white blood cells and particles of protein (as flare-ups) in the fluid that is produced in the eye.

Taking care of your eyes when you have iritis:
• Regularly take the prescribed medicines
• If eye pain worsens when exposed to light then wear dark glasses
• Mild analgesics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help in reducing the discomfort

Treatment of iritis includes the use of medicated eye drops or pills to heal the eye. The eye drops prescribed work by dilating the pupil. These drops also prevent spasm of the iris muscles, enabling the iris to rest.

Steroid eye drops also work by decreasing the inflammation of the iris. Steroid pills or injections around the eyes might be required in case eye drops do not heal the eyes within a week's time.

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