About Ocular Immunology
Ocular immunology and inflammatory diseases are a leading cause of vision loss in the United States and other developed countries. Notable ocular inflammatory diseases include autoimmune diseases of the cornea and ocular surface, several infectious diseases, uveitis. Uveitis refers to a wide range of inflammatory diseases that damage the eye and can cause blindness. Types of uveitis include infectious agents (toxoplasmosis, herpes simplex, varicella-zoster), both isolated and systemic autoimmune disease (sarcoidosis, ankylosing spondylitis and HLA-B27 diseases, Behcet’s disease), drug-induced uveitis, and “white dot” syndromes (panuveitis, serpiginous choroiditis, birdshot chorioretinopathy).
Although many ophthalmologists see patients with ocular immunology diseases, a small subset of ophthalmologists have received formal training through a fellowship in ocular immunology or uveitis. Extensive training and experience allow these eye specialists to more effectively diagnose and treat an ocular inflammatory disease, especially complicated or chronic diseases, and to address the underlying cause. All Foster Ocular Immunology members have received formal training, including a fellowship in ocular immunology, and can be located via our membership directory.
Treatment of uveitis patients will include steroid eye drops, alongside addressing any underlying infection. A step-ladder approach developed by Dr. Foster is utilized by many ophthalmologists, which include escalating treatment to address refractory uveitis. Such treatments may include NSAIDS, immunomodulatory therapy, biologics and cytotoxic drugs, and surgery to treat chronic uveitis and prevent vision loss.