There are several symptoms of iritis. These include:
- Pain in your eye or eyebrow area, which may be worse when you’re trying to focus
- Redness or swelling in your eye
- Sensitivity to light, or eye pain in bright light
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Vision loss
- Loss of peripheral vision (difficulty seeing objects at the edges of your field of vision)
- Watery eyes
- A very small or unusually-shaped pupil
- Eye floaters: small specks floating in your field of vision
These symptoms often can last a few hours or even days. This is known as acute iritis. However, if your symptoms develop more gradually or last for more than three months, it’s called chronic iritis.
If you think you might have iritis, you should see your optometrist or doctor, especially if you have ongoing eye pain, changes in your vision, or if you’ve had iritis before. It’s important to treat iritis as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to your eyes.
If you think you may have iritis, you should see an optometrist or a doctor right away.
If your eye has been cut, punctured, or come into contact with chemicals, you should get medical attention. Even if you don’t have any symptoms of iritis straight away⁷, these could lead to traumatic iritis. The best way you can prevent further damage is by getting treatment as early as possible.
Your optometrist or your doctor will examine your eyes using a bright light and a magnifying tool. This is called a slit lamp. They might give you eye drops containing dye during the appointment to help them see the details of your eye better. They will probably also ask you about your health history, particularly whether you’ve had iritis before.⁵
If you think you have iritis, or if your eye has been cut, punctured, or come into contact with chemicals, you should see an optometrist or a doctor right away. This way, they can treat it quickly and prevent any further damage to your eyes.
Your doctor will probably give you steroid eye drops to treat iritis, because these can reduce inflammation in your eye.²
For traumatic iritis (iritis caused by an injury or chemical burn), your doctor may also give you eye drops called cycloplegic eye drops. These drops dilate your pupil and temporarily stop the muscles in your eye from working, to prevent painful spasms.⁷
If your iritis is caused by an infection, your doctor may treat the infection using antibiotics, antiviral medicine or antifungal medicine (depending on whether it’s a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection).⁸
It’s very important to get iritis treated by a doctor or an optometrist, rather than just treating it at home. This is dangerous and can make the condition worse. However, once you’ve been given your eye drops or other medication to cure the iritis, there are things you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms. You can take over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the pain, alongside taking the medication your doctor has prescribed to cure the iritis.⁸ If your eyes are sensitive to light, you may find it helpful to wear sunglasses, even indoors.⁸ It can also be helpful to put a warm flannel (face cloth) over your eye to soothe any pain and swelling.⁸
It may take 6 to 8 weeks to recover fully from iritis.³ Traumatic iritis, caused by an injury, however, is likely to heal sooner and may only take a couple of weeks1. While you’re recovering, it’s a good idea to have regular check-ups with your doctor or optometrist. This way, they can monitor you, make sure your iritis is healing, and make sure you’re not developing any other complications like cataracts or glaucoma.³