Joan Lee, DO


Dr. Lee graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency training were completed at Geisinger Medical Center, where she served as chief resident. Following residency, she trained with Dr. C. Stephen Foster and completed her fellowship in Uveitis at the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution.

Dr. Lee is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. She is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Uveitis Society.

Uveitis - Ocular Inflammatory Disease

Uveitis is a wide range of inflammatory diseases of the eye, specifically the uvea. There are 3 basic layers of the eye – the sclera and cornea on the outside, the retina on the inside, and the uvea in between. The uvea is comprised mostly of blood vessels and connective tissue, including pigmented cells. The different parts of the uvea are the iris in the front, the ciliary body in the middle, and the choroid located behind these, which lies around most of the eye. Sometimes uveitis can affect parts of the eye other than uvea, such as retina, vitreous, or optic nerve.

Types of Uveitis

Types of uveitis are based on what part of the eye is affected.

  • Anterior uveitis – inflammation in the front of the eye, called iritis or iridocyclitis.
  • Intermediate uveitis – inflammation in the middle part of the eye, or pars planitis or vitritis.
  • Posterior uveitis – inflammation of the back of the eye, such as choroiditis, retinal vasculitis, retinitis, neuroretinitis, retinochoroiditis, or chorioretinitis.

Causes of Uveitis

Uveitis has many causes. Most cases are due to autoimmune disease or infection, and there are some for which a cause is not found – so called “idiopathic” uveitis – which is treated as non-infectious inflammation. Other causes include trauma, medication-induced uveitis, and in rare instances, cancer.

Symptoms of Uveitis

These can vary by the type of uveitis, and can present in one or both eyes. Symptoms commonly include:

  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Floaters and flashes

Any of the above symptoms can occur with any type of uveitis. There are even some types of uveitis that often present without any symptoms at all, such as uveitis associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

The first step in diagnosing uveitis is a thorough history of illness and review of systems. The importance of this cannot be overstated, and is, unfortunately, sometimes overlooked. The primary goal of treating uveitis is getting rid of inflammation as quickly as possible.

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