Inflamed Choroid (Chorioretinitis)

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If you’re having sudden problems seeing at night or seeing color, you might have an inflamed choroid, or chorioretinitis. The choroid is a retinal lining that’s located deep inside your eye. Any inflammation there will affect your vision. For some this will just cause some eye watering or redness. For others it can create floating objects or flashes of light.

While this condition is certainly alarming, it’s also treatable.

Diagnosing Chorioretinitis at UVA Health

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

To prepare for a complete eye exam, your doctor may apply numbing drops that will also dilate your pupils. The slit lamp, a special microscope to examine the eye, will focus a high powered beam of light into your eye. Then, your doctor examines the cornea and other eye structures. The doctor may measure the pressure in your eyes.

Your doctor may also have your blood drawn for some lab work if you have a family history or other symptoms.

Treating Chorioretinitis

Depending on what is causing your inflammation, your doctor might pursue one of several treatment options.

For some, dilating drops may be needed to reduce discomfort. Medications can be used to treat any underlying infections. If the inflammation is severe, your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroid eye drops.

What Caused My Chorioretinitis?

Chorioretinitis is usually caused by either an infection or an autoimmune disease. In some cases, a person might get an infection and then go on to develop an inflamed choroid as many as 10 or 20 years later.

Some of the conditions associated with increased risk include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Syphilis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Congenital toxoplasmosis
  • Congenital rubella
  • Congenital cytomegalovirus
  • Weak immune status
  • Exposure to pets, raw or undercooked meat, or contaminated water
  • HLA-A29 gene

What Are the Symptoms of Chorioretinitis?

Symptoms include:

  • Pain or redness in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • See floating objects in vision
  • Sensitivity to light or glare
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensation of sparks or flashes of light
  • Impaired night vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Distortion of objects

Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other eye issues and conditions. It’s important to see a doctor for correct diagnosis and treatment.

How Can I Prevent Chorioretinitis?

While it’s important to have regular eye exams and practice good eye hygiene, chorioretinitis may not always be possible to prevent. Monitor and treat any autoimmune diseases and infections. If you feel eye discomfort, make an eye doctor appointment as soon as possible.