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I have a 10-year-old who has been on steroid eye drops for the last 8 months for the treatment of iritis. I am concerned that we do not have a cause for this ongoing problem and that he has spent so much time on steroids. Is there any alternative? We have tested for rheumatoid arthritis but that is all. This test was negative. What tests should I be pushing for at this point?
Iritis is one form of inflammation of the eye that is associated primarily with the iris, but other parts of the eye can also be involved and this can be associated with local disease from the eye or from uveitis that is associated with systemic disease. Steroids help control the inflammation, but do not necessarily identify the cause of ocular inflammation. The reasons for ocular inflammation can include trauma, infection, autoimmune disease, inflammatory systemic disease, and other processes, so if an ocular inflammation persists, referral to and consultation with a uveitis specialist (an ophthalmologist with advanced training in the inflammation of the eye) may be warranted. Many clinical presentations of ocular inflammation may not have a known cause based on current testing, but a uveitis specialist will at least be able to test for the known and common causes and to seek a specific treatment or at least provide a diagnosis that may help guide treatment.
Answered by: Richard K. Lee, MD, PhD
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