What Is It?

Uveitis means inflammation of the part of the eye called the uvea. The uvea, also called the uveal tract, is a continuous layer of fibrous tissue that surrounds the eye. It is made up of three structures:

  • The iris — The donut-shaped part that gives the eye its color

  • The choroid — A membrane full of tiny blood vessels that lines the eye

  • The ciliary body — A thick ring of tissue that helps control the shape of the lens, and is attached to the iris and to the front portion of the choroid

Various terms are used for the condition, depending on the part of the uvea affected. They include:

  • Anterior uveitis (iritis) — Affects the front portion of the uvea, the iris

  • Iridocyclitis — Affects the iris and the ciliary body

  • Intermediate uveitis (also called pars planitis) — Affects the middle portion of the uvea, between the retina and the ciliary body

  • Posterior uveitis (choroiditis) — Affects the back part of the uvea, the choroids

  • Diffuse uveitis — Inflammation of all portions of the uvea

The most common types of uveitis are anterior uveitis and iridocyclitis. Posterior uveitis is rare.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »