In a vitreous inflammation is a disease that develop on the eye inflammatory processes in the area of the glass body. Vitreous inflammation is acute or chronic and is also known by the synonym Vitritis. Vitreous inflammation usually only affects one eye, as simultaneous infection in both eyes is comparatively rare.
What is vitreous inflammation?
Vitreous inflammation occurs in many cases in connection with other diseases or inflammations in the eye area. In addition, an isolated occurrence of vitreous inflammation is possible, whereby only the vitreous itself is affected by the inflammatory processes. However, because different tissues inside the eye are very close together, the inflammation quickly spreads to other areas.
For this reason, purely vitreous inflammation is less common than one associated with other inflammations. Basically, isolated vitreous inflammation is a disease that occurs with low frequency. It is often associated with endophthalmitis. The reasons for the development are often trauma to the eyeball, with germs penetrating the area.
Surgical interventions on the eye can also lead to vitreous inflammation. If the cause of the vitreous inflammation is found in microbial pathogens and the inflammation spreads to other areas of the eye, endophthalmitis is present.
Vitreous inflammation is usually caused by bacterial or viral pathogens that penetrate the vitreous through surgery or trauma, for example. People who are generally in good health are more likely to develop vitreous infections caused by bacteria.
In contrast, people with a weakened body’s own immune system develop vitreous infections more often as a result of fungal infections.
These patient groups suffer from AIDS, tumors or have a donor organ, for example. Vitreous inflammation is often caused by fungi of the Candida species. The structure of the vitreous body only allows inflammation if germs penetrate the area from the outside.
The pathogens enter the vitreous humor, for example, from neighboring areas inside the eye. In addition, various microbial germs are able to trigger vitreous inflammation. These include, for example, bacteria, viruses and fungi.
The pathogens are transmitted either directly through injuries to the globe or indirectly through sepsis or other pathological phenomena. Depending on the responsible pathogen and the immune system of the person affected, a vitreous inflammation develops with a chronic, acute or subacute course.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
With acute vitreous inflammation, the first thing the patients notice is that their visual performance is deteriorating. Pain also usually develops inside the eye, which the patient perceives as dull. Pain relieving drugs usually have little effect. In addition, redness forms on the conjunctiva of the diseased eye.
The chronic form of vitreous inflammation is associated with far fewer symptoms, so that it often goes unnoticed by those affected for a long time. In this case, too, a deterioration in visual acuity is possible, but this is less noticeable than in the acute form.
Diagnosis & course
Patients with an acute vitreous inflammation contact a doctor much more often than people who suffer from the chronic form. The acute symptoms give the attending ophthalmologist the first important information about a possible vitreous inflammation. In addition to the individual symptoms, the doctor will discuss possible triggers for vitreous inflammation.
In doing so, he finds out whether the patient has recently suffered injuries to the eyeball or has undergone surgical interventions on the eye. The analysis of existing, possibly chronic, underlying diseases also plays an important role in the anamnesis. Diseases such as tumors or AIDS indicate a weakened immune system that makes you more susceptible to vitreous inflammation.
The ophthalmologist examines the affected eye clinically with the help of a slit lamp. In addition, he usually uses ultrasound technology to depict the inside of the eye and to collect evidence of the inflammation of the vitreous humor. A smear on the diseased eye with a subsequent laboratory evaluation is usually essential in order to reliably diagnose the vitreous humor and identify the pathogens responsible.
In most cases, the vitreous humor only affects one of the two eyes, so that the symptoms and complications often only affect one of the two eyes. This leads to severe pain inside the eye and reduced visual performance. Likewise, the patient not infrequently suffers from blurred vision and double vision, which complicate everyday life and no longer allow various activities.
The conjunctiva is also often reddened. Unfortunately, pain in the eye cannot usually be relieved with the help of pain relievers, so the quality of life is extremely reduced. In the worst case, the vitreous humor can lead to complete blindness in the patient. This condition is irreversible and cannot be reversed.
The treatment itself is always based on the causes of the vitreous inflammation and the underlying disease. In severe cases, the loss of vision can occur within a few hours and thus lead to a panic attack. In the case of tumors or AIDS, targeted treatment cannot be carried out in most cases. Vitreous inflammation does not reduce the patient’s life expectancy.
When should you go to the doctor?
Vision problems should always be clarified by a doctor. If they continue unabated for several days, this is considered unusual and should be examined. If there is a loss of vision or if the person concerned is more sensitive to various light influences, a doctor is required. If the general risk of accidents increases due to the change in vision, a check-up must be initiated as soon as possible. If there is pain in the eyes, this is a warning that should be followed up.
Before taking any pain medication, it is necessary to consult a doctor. If the symptoms increase or if there are further problems, a doctor should be contacted. If the conjunctiva is reddened, the tear fluid changes, itching or a burning sensation in the eye, a doctor should be consulted. If the affected person wears visual aids, it is advisable to contact a doctor as early as possible, otherwise further complications can arise.
If anxiety sets in or other psychological complaints arise, a doctor should be consulted. Help should be sought in the event of a racing heart, increased blood pressure, sweating or increased irritability. If you have a fever or a reduced performance, a doctor should be consulted. Behavioral problems, sleep disorders, inner restlessness or lack of concentration and attention should also be examined and treated.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of vitreous inflammation depends in each case on the individual reasons for it, in particular on the causative pathogens. Because bacterial or viral germs usually require a different therapy than infections caused by fungi. A so-called antibiogram is used to treat the germs in a targeted manner.
Rapid treatment of vitreous inflammation is of immense importance as various complications are possible. If endophthalmitis is present, there is a risk that the affected person will go blind after a short period of time. In severe cases, the loss of vision develops over the course of a few hours. A timely diagnosis with subsequent therapy of vitreous inflammation that is precisely tailored to the pathogen is therefore of considerable importance.
Outlook & forecast
The prognosis of vitreous inflammation is basically to be classified as good. The course of the disease varies depending on the cause and the general health of the person concerned. Acute as well as chronic developments can occur.
In patients with a stable immune system, the vitreous humor is usually completely healed within a few days or weeks. As soon as the causative pathogens have been identified, medical care begins that is tailored to the individual needs of the organism. Already after a short time there are clear improvements and a relief of the symptoms.
If the immune system is weak, there is an overall delay in the healing process. In addition, there are often other diseases that must be treated in parallel. The immune system can only stop the pathogens from multiplying with difficulty or not at all. Therefore, individual therapy and a strengthening of the immune system are required.
Rapid cure or relief is not expected without medical assistance. Well-being continues to decline and eyesight remains diminished. A chronic course of the disease is considered likely. In spite of the good prospect of recovery when taking advantage of a treatment, the vitreous inflammation can recur at any time over the life span. If the symptoms recur, the prognosis remains positive. Which eye is affected remains unaffected by the prospect of healing.
Effective preventive measures to prevent vitreous inflammation are hardly fully developed. It is particularly important to pay attention to meticulous hygiene during surgical interventions on the eye so that the risk of invading germs is reduced.
Even after the surgical intervention, the operated eye must be kept away from the patient from possible sources of infection. In the case of underlying immune-weakening diseases, regular check-ups with a doctor are recommended in order to quickly diagnose a possible vitreous humor.
In the case of vitreous inflammation, those affected have only very limited options for follow-up care. First and foremost, the cause of this disease must be identified and treated in order to prevent complete blindness of the person affected. Unfortunately, a positive course of the disease cannot always be guaranteed.
In most cases, vitreous inflammation is treated with medication or creams. The person affected must always ensure that they are taken or applied regularly in order to prevent complications. A very early diagnosis of vitreous inflammation is also important, as this is the only way to prevent blindness.
Since the vitreous humor can spread to other parts of the body or even to the internal organs, early treatment is necessary to prevent this. Even after successful treatment, regular examinations should therefore be carried out in order to detect inflammation in other parts of the body.
Furthermore, the eyes should always be protected from vitreous inflammation and not strained unnecessarily. If the person concerned is taking antibiotics, they must not be taken with alcohol, as this will reduce their effectiveness. Vitreous inflammation does not usually reduce the patient’s life expectancy.
You can do that yourself
In the case of vitreous inflammation, those affected have no options for self-help. However, patients must observe strict hygiene during all interventions in the eyes in order to avoid possible infections.
If the patient suffers from an immunodeficiency, he should undergo regular examinations and checks with a council in order to detect the symptoms of vitreous inflammation early. The earlier the disease is detected, the higher the chances of a complete cure of the disease.
Since the treatment itself takes place with the help of medication or antibiotics, the person affected should also take them according to strict instructions. In particular, the side effects or interactions with other drugs must be taken into account in order not to reduce the effectiveness of the drugs being treated. Any changes to the medication taken may only be made after consulting a doctor.
In severe cases or if treatment is delayed, the vitreous humor can also lead to loss of vision. In these cases, the patient depends on the support of friends and family, who can make everyday life much easier. Contact with other patients can also have a positive effect on the psyche of the person concerned.