Uveitis is a term used to describe a group of inflammatory diseases that destroy eye tissue. Specifically, it refers to the swelling of a tissue found in the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea. The uvea includes three parts: the colored ring of the eye called the iris, the choroid, and the ciliary body. The choroid and ciliary body are located behind the iris and are not visible without the use of special equipment. Swelling or destruction of eye tissue in each of these three parts of the uvea results from a different type of uveitis, which tend to be named based on where in the uvea the swelling occurs. The most common type is iritis, or anterior uveitis, which is inflammation of the iris. Other types include choroiditis (in the choroid); cyclitis, or intermediate uveitis (in the ciliary body); and pnuveitis (when all three parts of the uvea are infected). When inflammation occurs in the white part of the eye it is known as scleritis, and it is called pars planitis when it occurs in the pars plana, a narrow section of the ciliary body.

Uveitis, in any form, is a serious condition that can lead to partial or complete vision loss if left untreated. Though there may be noticeable signs of uveitis, such as red, aching eyes and light sensitivity, the presence of white blood cells is what ultimately leads to a diagnosis. The inflammation and deterioration of eye tissue occurs when white blood cells invade the uveal tissue, eventually leaking into other parts of the eye.


UAB Ophthalmology has more than 25 physicians, many of them named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. They are renowned for their advances in eye care, breaking through old ways of treating blinding eye diseases and revolutionizing many areas of ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology care at UAB is located in UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, one of the busiest eye hospitals in the country, where specialists work together to treat complex cases. The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital surgical suite houses nine operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery as well as a 24/7 Eye emergency room, which is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 11,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye surgeries than any other facility in the world. Patients come from around the nation to be treated for eye conditions at UAB.

The UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation works with patients to maximize vision and provides services such as orientation and mobility, occupational therapy, and support groups for patients dealing with vision loss or impairment.

Through ongoing research and clinical trials, UAB continues to make great strides in the field of ophthalmology. In addition to our physicians, we have a team of vision scientists who are fully dedicated to researching causes, preventions, and cures for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Many UAB ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to deliver the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.




UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of uveitis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials