How is a slit-lamp exam for uveitis performed and what are the characteristic results?

Updated: Jan 15, 2019
  • Author: Monalisa N Muchatuta , MD, MS; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Slit-lamp examination

  • This is the most important aspect of the examination.
  • Examine the cornea via direct illumination with a broad beam at a 30°-40° angle between the viewing microscope and the light source.
  • Examine the epithelium for abrasions, edema, ulcers, or foreign bodies.
  • Inspect the stroma for deep ulcers and edema.
  • Keratitic precipitates (white blood cells) on the endothelium are a hallmark of iritis.
  • Ciliary flush, a violaceous ring around the cornea, is highly indicative of intraocular inflammation. [1]
  • Corneal edema and vitreous haze (large collection of inflammatory cells in the vitreous) may be observed.
  • Intraocular pressure may be normal or slightly decreased in the acute phase owing to decreased aqueous humor production; however, pressure may become elevated as the inflammation subsides.
  • Opacities of the lens (cataracts) may be present but are not specific for uveitis.

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