Inflammation and irritation of the delicate ocular components is not only uncomfortable, but it can have devastating effects if left untreated. Prolonged inflammation can lead to destruction of structures within the eye, and can even lead to blindness. The eye is delicate and sensitive, and can become infected with the slightest scratch. There are varying underlying causes for ocular inflammation, ranging from bacterial, to fungal, and even viral. Sometimes the inflammation is secondary to other conditions like lupus and arthritis, which means that ocular inflammation can also be caused by autoimmune dysfunction. Here are some of the ways inflammation can affect the structures of the eye:
Retinal vasculitis presents as a painless condition that decreases visual acuity. This can cause vision to become blurry, lead to color blindness, and distortion of images. Inflammation takes place in the vascular branches of the artery within the retina. This can be caused by other ocular diseases, or other systemic conditions that cause vasculitis, including sarcoidosis and multiple sclerosis. Infectious pathogens can also cause retinal vasculitis, although this condition is most commonly caused by another primary disease.
Inflammatory conditions related to infection
Bacterial and fungal infections of the eye are not common, but can have serious effects if left untreated. Infection can occur after intraocular surgeries like cataract extraction, and is one of the most feared complications in ocular surgery. Because it’s difficult to identify the specific organism that caused the infection, treatment can be difficult.
Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye. The uvea consists of a few different structures, including the iris, choroid and ciliary body. Symptoms include redness, pain, sensitivity to light, and blurred or decreased vision. Some individuals experience sudden symptoms that worsen quickly, while others experience symptoms that gradually worsen. Like retinal vasculitis, uveitis can be caused by a primary disease like sarcoidosis or ankylosing spondylitis. Uveitis can also be caused from autoimmune disorders, even diseases that are primarily concerned with the gut – like inflammatory bowel disease.
The episclera is a thin layer of tissue, located between the conjunctiva and the connective tissue layer that forms the white part of the eye. Episcleritis is one of the more common ocular inflammatory conditions, and causes mild pain and redness. Episcleritis can be divided into two types: described as diffuse and nodular. Diffuse episcleritis is characterized by redness of the entire episclera structure. Nodular episcleritis is characterized by sections of redness. The frustrating part about episcleritis is that it’s usually idiopathic – meaning the cause is unknown. Causes are sometimes linked to other conditions, like connective tissue diseases and autoimmune disorders (including arthritis). Because this condition is usually self-limiting, treatment is ordinarily unnecessary. Over-the-counter aids like artificial tears or anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve some of the short-lived symptoms.
Serrapeptase is perhaps the most promising alternative remedy for inflammatory eye conditions. Because it affects areas of localized inflammation, serrapeptase is able to travel through the blood, even to the retinal artery and the tiny vasculature within the eye – reducing redness, inflammation, and inhibiting the progression of ocular damage.