If Left Untreated, Uveitis Can Cause Blindness

The eye consists of three different layers of tissue. The outermost layer is the sclera, which maintains the shape and structure of the eye and protects it from foreign matter. The middle layer of the eye is the uvea, which contains many of the eye’s blood vessels. And the innermost layer is the retina. The eye’s interior is largely made up of the aqueous and vitreous humor or fluids which help to provide nourishment to certain parts of the eye, such as the lens.

Uveitis is really a broad term for a variety of problems involving inflammation of any of the parts that make up the middle layer of the eye known as the uvea. The uvea is composed of the following parts:

  • The iris, which is the colored circle at the front of the eye. It defines our eye color, controls the amount of light that enters the eye by adjusting the size of the pupil so that it constricts in response to light and dilates when it is dark.
  • The ciliary body, which is the part that makes the fluid called aqueous humor and is also the part that changes the shape of the lens so that the eye can focus.
  • The choroid, which is the layer made up of many blood vessels and the connective tissue between the white of the eye and the retina (at the back of the eye). It provides nourishment to the retina and its nerve cells.

Inflammation of the tissue in the uvea can significantly affect a person’s vision quality. It can even lead to permanent loss of sight if not properly treated.

Uveitis is estimated to have a worldwide incidence of 17-52 per 100,000 persons per year, varying depending on nationality and country of residence. Of these, an estimated 10-14% of patients contract severe uveitis to such a degree that it results in vision loss.

Uveitis patients can develop a variety of signs and symptoms depending on which part or parts of the eye are inflamed. For example, those with uveitis often experience eye redness, eye pain, light sensitivity and decreased vision. If the patient has vitreous inflammation, they may experience an increase in eye floaters (spots), although without change in their visual clarity. Retinal inflammation may cause a complete loss of vision, or visual field loss or defects. These various symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually.

Nowadays, we are able to distinguish between the many different categories or types of uveitis. The most common causes of uveitis in Thailand and most other Asian countries include infections, an attack from the body’s own immune system (autoimmunity), vasculitis, and cancer, among others. In the past, we were only able to make specific diagnoses and pinpoint the exact cause in 40-50% of cases, but due to greater knowledge and a better understanding of the disease, along with the far more advanced medical technologies currently available, we are now able to identify the cause of up to 80% of cases.

If a person begins to experience symptoms that they suspect may be uveitis, or if they are a part of any of the at-risk groups for uveitis, including patients with autoimmune diseases such as lupus or SLE, ankylosing spondylitis, or scleroderma, and patients with immunodeficiency, they should consult a uveitis specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment. The ophthalmologist will gather a thorough health history and conduct a detailed eye and health exam. Additionally, if necessary, the patient may be referred for further examinations and laboratory testing in order to provide further diagnosis and treatment.

By Dr. Chaisiri Jumroendararasame, Ophthalmologist specializing in Uveitis, Eye Center, Bumrungrad International Hospital

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Established in 1997, the Heart Center at Bumrungrad International Hospital is a leader center of excellence that provides world-class care to more than 40,000 patients every year. These patients come from all corners of the world, seeking the innovation and expertise for which Bumrungrad is well known. With a goal of providing targeted treatment for Cardiac Arrhythmias, as well as to conduct further research into the field, the Arrhythmia Center is one example of the Heart Center’s commitment to excellence in cardiac care.

What is a Cardiac Arrhythmia?

This condition is most simply identified by heart palpitations that are caused by the heart beating too fast, too slow, or with an abnormal rhythm as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Some symptoms of a Cardiac Arrhythmia can include fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, and in every instance this condition requires immediate medical attention. In more serious cases, arrhythmia can cause a sudden collapse or sudden cardiac arrest. However, in most cases, patients do not see any signs or symptoms until it’s too late. This is why it’s so important to pinpoint the exact cause of an abnormality with precision and as quickly as possible. This is one of the best ways to ensure that the patient receives the appropriate care at the right time.

A Brand New Technology

Furthering its commitment to be a leader in innovative approach to the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Arrhythmia Center has announced the launch of CardioInsight, the latest technology in the diagnosis of the disease. 

CardioInsight is a completely non-invasive technology for the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia. There are no tools or equipment required to be inserted into a patient’s body. The system uses a 252-electrode sensor vest which is worn by the patient to detect electrical signals of the heart by capturing electrocardiogram signals from the chest, which is then combined with data from a computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart to create patient-specific 3D images. This technology would be able to locate the specific area of the abnormality to deliver accurate and effective treatments, as well as to potentially save time and enhance the patient experience.

With collaboration between Bumrungrad International Hospital and CardioInsight’s founding and leadership team, the heart specialists at Bumrungrad are eager to provide the most accurate and non-invasive diagnoses which will lead to the most appropriate course of treatment for each patient.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may need attention for cardiac arrhythmias, don’t wait until it’s too late; make an appointment today .

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