MFF0096: What is the uvea and what is uveitis?

What is the uvea?

If the software is working as hoped, this show will drop as I’m flying between Sydney and Abu Dhabi. I’m attending a World Health Organization meeting in Lyon, France this week.

Last week, in episode 95 I spoke about¬†“T is for Tetanus”.

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What is the uvea?

The uvea is the middle layer of the outer shell for want of a better term of the eye. The uvea contains most of the blood vessels supplying the eye. It sits between the outer scleral layer and the inner retinal layer. The uvea is made up of three elements, viz., the iris, ciliary body and choroid.

The iris is the coloured circle in front of the eye. It gives us our eye colour. My eyes are brown.

The ciliary body helps with focussing by controlling the shape of the lens. It sits between the iris and the choroid.

The choroid is a network of blood vessels which forms a spongy network. The choroid feeds the retina.

The Medical Fun Facts Podcast Uvea

What about the other parts?

The lens allows light into the eye.

The retina is full of light receptor cells which converts the light to electrical signals and the optic nerves take these signals to the brain.

The vitreous is the space inside the eye behind the lens. It’s full of vitreous humour.


Uveitis is basically inflammation of the uvea but it includes not just the uvea but also other structures in the eye.

This inflammation of the eye tissues can range from mild to destructive.

For all intents and purposes, uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, lens, retina, optic nerve and vitreous.


To better understand uveitis, it needs to be classified anatomically and by ætiology.

Anatomically the basic groups are anterior or the front of the eye, intermediate or in the middle, posterior or the back of the eye, and panuveitis which affects the whole of the eye.

Uveitis can be infectious and noninfectious.

Anterior uveitis

Inflammation of the front of the eye is the most common form of the disease and may also be unilateral. Rheumatological, skin, gastrointestinal and infectious agents can cause disease.

Intermediate uveitis

Found mostly in young people and is inflammation of the vitreous and can be due to sarcoidosis and multiple sclerosis.

Posterior uveitis

Often called choroiditis and is the least common cause of disease. The inflammation may be noninfectious or infectious in nature.


When all three parts of the eye are inflamed, it is panuveitis.¬†Behcet’s¬†disease is a form of panuveitis.

Causes of uveitis

HIV infection, ankylosing spondylitis, CMV infection, VZV infection, Histoplasmosis, Multiple sclerosis, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sarcoidosis, Syphilis, Toxoplasmosis, Tuberculosis and ulcerative colitis.


Typical symptoms include blurred vision, floaters in your vision, pain in your eye or eyes, redness of your eyes, and sensitivity to light.

The basic advice is always, any sudden change in your vision should be followed by a visit to your doctor who may immediately refer you to an ophthalmologist.

I’m going to be a bit controversial and suggest, if you have any¬†sudden change¬†in your vision or pain in your eye¬†DO NOT see an optometrist, see a proper doctor first. You don’t want to muck around with your sight.

Questions for readers and listeners

Have you ever had eye disease?

Do you get your eyesight checked regularly?

Do you wear eye protection when undertaking potentially sight-threatening work?

Please leave your answers in the comments section of the show notes or on the Facebook page or on YouTube.

That’s episode 96 in the can.

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Medical Fun Facts is available in¬†Anchor, the¬†Apple Podcasts app, and in¬†Stitcher. You’ll find the links in the show notes.

If you have any questions or comments please let me know. If I’ve said anything incorrect I welcome correction.

I’ll catch you next week for episode 97. Something beginning with the letter V. Send me suggestions.

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Thank you, and good night.

Blogger shoutout

Thanks to my friend Kaia who got the Medical Fun Facts Podcast to 200 likes.


On my ‚Äėprofessional‚Äô Facebook¬†account¬†and¬†page, occasionally people leave comments relating to my work with the Australian Government Department of Health. I will not engage in public on social media with work-related matters. Please send me an e-mail to¬†¬†Specifically these topics include poliovirus containment, security sensitive biological agents, Lyme disease, debilitating symptom complexes attributed to ticks (DSCATT), electromagnetic energy and electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and biological importation risk assessment.

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