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Iritis, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Inflammation of anterior uveal tract

  • Iritis and anterior uveitis are synonymous.

  • Uveitis secondary to trauma is also called traumatic iritis.


  • Most cases are idiopathic, but may ...


Signs and Symptoms

  • Acute presentation:

    • Ocular pain, red eye

    • Photophobia (consensual)

    • Lacrimation

    • Decreased visual acuity (usually mild)

    • Cells and flare in anterior chamber; hypopyon

    • Posterior synec...


Initial Stabilization/Therapy

  • Goal:

    • Reduce inflammation and prevent complications

  • Cycloplegic agent (short-acting):

    • Decreases pain, photophobia

    • Prevents development of posterior synechiae

Ed Treatment/Procedures



Admission Criteria

Not indicated unless significant systemic illness 

Issues for Referral

  • Iritis:

    • Refer to ophthalmologist within 24 hr for follow-up care and possible steroid therapy...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • If topical anesthesia relieves pain, probably not iritis.

  • Must be differentiated from other, vision-endangering forms of eye pain:

    • Keratitis

    • Herpes simplex conjunctivitis

    • Bacterial con...

Additional Reading

  • Bertolini  J, Pelucio  M. The red eye. Emerg Med Clin North Am.  1995;13:561–579.

  • Dargin  JM, Lowenstein  RA. The painful eye. Emerg Med Clin North Am.  2008;26:199–216, vi...



  • 364.00 Acute and subacute iridocyclitis, unspecified

  • 364.3 Unspecified iridocyclitis

  • 364.10 Chronic iridocyclitis, unspecified

  • 054.44 Herpes simplex iridocyclitis

  • 364.02 Recurrent iridocyclitis


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