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Last updated:21st March 2016

AS and the eyes

Uveitis (Iritis)

About 30-40% of people with AS will develop uveitis (also known as iritis).

This is an eye condition caused by inflammation in the front part of the eye between the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) and the lens.

Common symptoms of uveitis

  • Pain in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light. The brighter the light the more pain in the eye as the pupil gets smaller causing pain
  • Redness and soreness of the eye
  • Blurred vision

Uveitis usually comes on suddenly and is likely to recur

Each single attack usually lasts a few weeks and should last no more than 3 months. The inflammation can range from mild to severe and each attack may be different, even in the same person.

What should you do?

If you think you have symptoms of uveitis you should see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours, to confirm it and start you on treatment. Early treatment reduces the risk of long term damage to the eye which can affect your vision.

You can find an ophthalmologist by asking your GP to make an urgent referral to the local ophthalmology team or you can go to your local hospital A&E department who will contact the ophthalmologist to arrange an urgent review.

 NASS member Aimee Matthews produced a list of all the hospitals in England where emergency treatment can be found for AS.

 NASS member John Connelly has produced a guide to emergency eye care in Wales.

 You can read more here about uveitis.


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