If you've brought your child in for a routine eye examination only to be told that they have a disease called uveitis, you may be understandably alarmed. This is a serious condition that requires care to prevent dangerous outcomes, but if you know what you're doing and follow the doctor's directions, your child will likely be just fine. Here's what you need to know.
What It Is
Uveitis is a type of auto-immune disorder. This means that your child's immune system isn't behaving properly because it's supposed to attack foreign invading cells before they can cause any significant damage to your child's own cells. With an auto-immune disease, the immune cells stop recognizing the normal cells as healthy or fine and attack them instead. It's important to understand that accepting treatment for uveitis is all but mandatory. Uveitis can cause blindness if left untreated, but thankfully, some treatments can help.
What to Expect
After your child is diagnosed with uveitis, your eye doctor will likely want to start treatments right away. These treatments are typically steroid eye drops. Steroid eye drops are effective because they stymie the immune system. Steroids taken orally can do this too but they're also known for causing significant side effects. By providing them with an eye drop, side effects are limited to almost nothing. Instead, your child gets the benefits faster by receiving the steroids directly to the eyes instead of waiting for them to travel through the entire bloodstream first.
By giving your child steroid eye drops regularly, you can slow the progression of the disease and potentially even stop it. Keep in mind, though, that this isn't a cure; it's a treatment. Your child's eye drops need to be regularly administered as directed by their eye doctor.
How to Help
There are a few extra things you can do to ensure that your child's eyes stay healthy. First, always make sure to make it to the eye doctor appointments. These are crucial to monitoring the damage to the eyes and ensuring that the eyes stay healthy. Secondly, talk to your child. Ask them questions, like if their eyes are hurting or if their vision seems blurry. These can be signs that something has progressed with the disease and immediate medical care is necessary.
Uveitis can be controlled if treated properly. Don't leave your child's vision up to chance; visit a local vision clinic and set up a children's eye exam for your child.