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Traumatic Iritis and Chemical Iritis

(Iridocyclitis; Traumatic Uveitis)

By Ann P. Murchison, MD, MPH, Director;Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Wills Eye Emergency Department, Wills Eye Hospital;Thomas Jefferson University

Iritis is inflammation of the pigmented inside lining of the eye (uvea), iris, or both.

Iritis can be develop after blunt eye trauma or a chemical burn, typically within 3 days. However, iritis can also develop without injury (see Uveitis).

Symptoms may include tearing, redness of the eye, and a painful ache in the eye. Usually people have some blurred vision or pain when exposed to bright light (photophobia).

A doctor bases the diagnosis on the person’s history, symptoms, and the results of a slit-lamp examination.

Treatment of Iritis

  • Drugs to relieve pain

Drugs that dilate the pupil are instilled into the eye. The drug relaxes the muscles of the colored part of the eye (iris), which spasm painfully. These drugs are called cycloplegics and include cyclopentolate and homatropine.

Corticosteroid eye drops (such as prednisolone) are often used to shorten symptom duration. Cycloplegics and corticosteroids are usually adequate to relieve pain, but if necessary, the person can also take acetaminophen.