Choroiditis, also known as posterior uveitis, is a rare, inflammatory eye disease that, according to the National Institutes of Health, only affects about 200,000 people in the United States. The choiroid is the layer of the eye found at the back of the uvea. It is made up of connective tissue and blood vessels. This layer can become inflamed and swollen for a variety of possible reasons, although in most cases, doctors have been mostly unable to pinpoint the causes.
It is generally believed that choroiditis comes about because of other diseased conditions a patient may have. Choroiditis has often been reported when the patient has been suffering from auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS, or lupus, or from serious viral infections, such as shingles or herpes. The fungus infection, histoplasmosis, as well as the parasitic condition, toxoplasmosis, may lead to choroiditis. Injury to the eye may also cause the condition. It is possible that repeated injuries to the eye may make choroiditis even more likely.
The onset of choroiditis can be rapid, but it is more often slow. It generally affects only one eye. Vision becomes blurred in the affected eye, making it hard to see, and the eye is sensitive to light and may become sore and red. Early on, the patient might see flashes of light and floating spots. Gradually, the patient may lose his or her vision in the eye.
The treating ophthalmologist will usually first attempt to lessen pain and swelling by having the patient use corticosteroids and pupil dilators in the form of eyedrops. He or she may also order an injection or prescribe oral medication in cases when swelling is severe. A complete medical history should be taken, and an eye examination performed. The doctor will often order tests to establish whether or not the patient is suffering from any auto-immune disorders or infections. Surgeries, either conventional or laser, may be indicated when another eye condition, such as glaucoma or cataracts, happen to be present in the patient.
At this point in time, the prognosis for choroiditis cases is not very promising since it is so difficult to treat, due to the mystery that surrounds its causes. Inflammation of the diseased eye can last for months, and even years. It may result in progressive and even permanent vision loss.