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Iritis, literally inflammation of the iris, is a relatively unusual but important condition that usually occurs in one eye at a time.  It is also known as anterior uveitis, meaning inflammation of the front part of the uvea, which is the pigmented layer that lies in between the retina and the white outer casing of the eye, the sclera.  Iritis is often painful and associated with a characteristic set of general body autoimmune diseases such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, sarcoidosis and inflammatory bowel disease.  Iritis typically presents as a painful, red eye, is more frequently seen in males and is often recurrent.  Diagnosis and treatment (with drops) of iritis is generally straight-forward, but it is important to rule out involvement of the posterior uvea in each case.

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