The treatment of uveitis depends on the type seen. Uveitis caused by an infection may require antibiotics or may even get better on its own. Uveitis of unknown cause or that is associated with an autoimmune disease usually requires treatment with medications. Medications to treat the inflammation can be given locally in the eye or systemically by mouth or by injection.
Local treatment with eye drops is usually tried first. Several kinds of eye drops may be used. Steroid eye drops are typically used for treatment. Steroids help to reduce the inflammation. Depending on how much inflammation is present, the steroid eye drops may need to be given several times a day. Drops that dilate the eye are also an important part of treatment. These dilating drops help to prevent adhesions from forming. Adhesions are like bands of scar tissue that can occur as a result of inflammation. If present, the adhesions can prevent the pupil from getting larger or smaller.
Steroid eye drops work best for anterior uveitis or inflammation in the front of the eye. They do not work as well for the treatment of intermediate or posterior uveitis (inflammation in the middle or back of the eye). It is difficult for the drops to get deeper into the eye. Therefore, a local injection (shot in the eye) of steroids may be used to treat intermediate or posterior uveitis.
If local treatment is not effective, then your eye doctor may recommend systemic treatment. Systemic treatment is medication given by mouth, injection, or infusion that travels throughout the whole body. This therapy is usually managed by a rheumatologist instead of the eye doctor. Rheumatologists are doctors that specialize in the treatment of different types of inflammation.
Systemic treatment usually consists of stronger anti-inflammatory medications. The choices of medications may vary. This would be discussed with you and your child and the physician to determine the best choice for your child.