Last Modified on Mar 18, 2014
What Is Iritis?
As a mucus membrane, the eye is prone to a number of different conditions. Iritis is a condition of the eye characterized by inflammation of the iris. The colored ring surrounding the pupil, the iris is located at the front of the uvea or middle layer of the eye. As such, this condition is also sometimes called anterior uveitis. Additionally, inflammation that is caused by trauma is referred to as traumatic iritis.
While the symptoms of iritis may vary depending on the type and cause of the condition, general symptoms can usually be identified. Common signs and symptoms of iritis include eye redness, discoloration of the eye including a bluish-pink color in the white of the eye surround the iris, discomfort or achiness in the eye, sensitivity to light, blurred vision and floating spots in the vision. Traumatic or acute iritis is characterized by symptoms that develop suddenly over a few hours or days in response to a significant, specific trigger.
While the exact cause of many cases of iritis is not determined, some common causes are known. Research suggests that iritis is often linked to eye trauma, genetic factors and other diseases. Known causes of iritis include injury to the eye, infection, genetic predisposition, Bechet’s disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, certain medications and posterior uveitis.
Natural Iritis Remedies
If left untreated, iritis may lead to other, potentially more dangerous conditions including glaucoma and blindness. A doctor can offer a full evaluation and treatment of which natural treatments are often and effective component. Common treatments for iritis include bilberry, antioxidant plant extract rutin and ginger. Additionally, eliminating processed sugar from diet, following a no starch diet and fasting helps eliminate inflammation and can effectively treat the inflammation associated with iritis. Identifying the specific triggers that cause inflammation also helps – for many the issues involve allergies, chemicals or toxins in food and specific food types.
[YEA] 05/08/2013: Deb from Georgina, Ontario: "I have been dealing with iritis for approx 10 years in both eyes with no idea what was causing it... Have had to have cataract surgery because of the treatment drops... I found relief by accident because just before one outbreak I got sniffles after working in a damp dusty shed... By that night my eye hurt slightly but I thought maybe I had gotten something in it.. Decided I needed to go out next day and get some allergy pills... By morning I was full blown iritis... Got my allergy pills anyway and guess what... Within hours of taking the pill pain was gone... Made me wonder... So next time I had a flair up I took an allergy pill... This time it took 2 days and symptoms stopped... Everytime I have a flair up now I just pop one and stay on them for a few days and haven't had to head to the specialist yet (knock on wood)."Replies
03/18/2014: Jms from Bulverde Tx replies: "Could you relay what sort of allergy pills you took to help relive iritis? I am wondering if even an over the counter allergy med would help."
[YEA] 04/16/2012: Koistie from Brisbane, Qld, Australia: "I have suffered from Iritis for over 10 years now. It can occur in either eye with no known underlying cause for the flare-ups. Since being diagnosed I've been to multiple specialists and was given steroid eye drops. Whilst the steroids helped tremendously I was concerned about the long-term side-effects.
After a bit of research I discovered Bilberry as a suggested natural remedy and have had amazing results. It's frequently found in over the counter products for healthy eye function but have found 5000mg of Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) to be the best. I take 4 capsules a day -as per directions- but increase this number if I have a flare up. Not only has it reduced the number of flare-ups but when I have an attack it actively relieves the pain and stops the inflammation in its tracks."Replies
04/16/2012: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "I've done "eye baths" with watered down bilberry extract with great success."
12/08/2012: Tessa from Tacoma, Washington replies: "Are you sure that it's 5,000 mg? The highest mg I could find at a supplements store in the states is 80mg."
09/23/2013: William from Miami replies: "How long did it take you to work?"
[YEA] 11/27/2013: Mojo74 from Alberta, Canada replies: "I have had 2 flare ups with iritis in the last 4 years, the third one came the other day… I searched the internet again… my last flare up was earlier this year, and did NOT want to go through it again as you all know how painful this is. I went and bought Bilberry after reading this recommendation, and I've only been taking it for 1 day, but I have little pain, and no sensitivity to light. In this one day of taking Bilberry I am confident that this will work! Thank you so much, you have saved me from going through the painful episode of iritis! My eye is red and a little sore, but I'm sure that as long as I keep taking this every day that it will keep the iritis away. Thanks again! XXX"
Eliminate Processed Sugar
[YEA] 03/02/2013: Dollface from Covina, Ca: "Hello - I first got iritis about 10 years ago and experienced difficult and frequent recurrences until I figured out I was having episodes after eating chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. I did not want to stop eating deserts so I experimented with my diet for a few years. I stopped eating all processed sugar 2 years ago (I only eat fruit as a source of sweets now) and I have not had an outbreak since. A few times a year I notice one of those headaches behind my eye coming on so I take a rx-strength motrin, and it is better the next day. Hope this helps someone."Replies
07/22/2013: Zark from Emerald City, The Land Of Oz replies: "Yes this did help me too. I did find that one of my triggers was dairy mixed with sucrose, otherwise known as sugar... Actually I think other fats may also have been an issue when combined with sucrose. These days I just avoid dairy (except yogurt and butter) and swap sucrose for honey or fructose. Has been a long time since I have had an Iritis attack as these dietary changes have helped a lot (I also follow the No Starch Diet too by the way)"
[YEA] 04/19/2012: Silver Fox from Arcata, California, Usa: "I have successfully used fasting for numerous "itis"s. An "itis" of any kind is an inflammation. Fasting reduces inflammation. When I first used fasting for iritis I was scared. My doctor said I was going to go blind, but I had had an adverse reaction to the eye drops in a previous attack. So.... I got up my courage and went to bed and water fasted for a week in the dark. After just one day of not eating, the pain subsided. This was profoundly encouraging! I stuck with it and at the end of a week my sight had completely returned! Always before, I had found that iritis lasted about a month. I tried to tell my doctor about the huge discovery I had made. He didn't want to hear about it. I have never (knock on wood) had iritis return and it has been twenty years.
I believe I got iritis from drawing for hours in poor light. I believe it was brought on by eye strain. Anyway, fasting turned a miserable experience into an empowering experience. You can use it with colds, flu, tonsilitis, arthritis, bronchitis, cystitis.... On and on."
03/29/2011: Lana from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: "Hi..... My niece was diagnosed with iritis 12 months ago, she is 18 years old. It started with her one eye now her other eye has been affected as well. The medication she was prescribed are very strong and can cause harmful side effects in the future but if she does not take them she can become blind. Is there a cure for this desease, does Ted have a cure?"Replies
06/22/2011: Planet Dove from Toronto, Ontario, Canada replies: "Hi Lana - I share your concerns, as I have dealt with iritis since my mid twenties, and eventually I became completely blind with white cataracts. The blindness was triggered by the cortisone drops that were prescribed and used during a long flare up. It is well known since the '70s that a long course of these drops will cause cataracts/blindness among 50% of the patients.
I followed faithfully the instructions of doctors for more than 20 years, and spent sometimes months in acute pain and therefore in total darkness. Nothing they offered provided relief of the pain of light or sped up recovery, only weeks and months of those drops that made me feel weak and sick, and darkness. During one incredibly severe attack of iritis, I desperately sought new avenues of relief. My first success was a Chinese practitioner who in a matter of an hour was able to relieve the pain dramatically and induced sleep for several days. With him I began to learn the how and why of the inflammations. He prepared herbal remedies and the time/intensity of the attack was lessened. I also learned about the connection between the eyes and the kidneys and liver, and the need to care for these organs.
Most important for my recovery from these excruciating episodes was to identify what triggers the iritis. The biggest danger for me is the petrochemical products that saturate our food - especially artificial sweeteners and all preservatives. They are everywhere (candy/wine/diet foods etc. ) and I have to be very careful to avoid them. I highly recommend avoiding ALL milk and dairy products, alcohol and sugars, red meat and pork, sulfites and wheat. (I could write a chapter on the downside of wheat).
A few years ago I was blessed to find a doctor who uses homeopathic remedies and this has been the biggest help. If I feel an eye is becoming 'tender' I will begin the drops, increase my water intake and my Omega oils consumption. I can usually avoid the crisis, or at most the acute stage lasts a few days. And there is relief from the pain. After decades of suffering for weeks and months each time, I am no longer crippled by the flare ups. I wish I would have learned faster, to avoid some of the damage of the recurring flare ups, but I am so grateful that I did finally learn. I tell everyone, everywhere to avoid those horrible petrochemical sweeteners and preservatives.
Eventually I was able manage the inflammations so they were at a minimum (I had to be iritis free for 6 months) and to find a surgeon who was skilled to handle the complications of the surgery brought about by the scarring of the iris over the years of inflammation. After a seven year journey into blindness I am able to see again! :D It is a beautiful world!!!
I hope this information is helpful to your niece.
09/13/2011: Darren from Toronto, On replies: "Hello...
I just read your iritis submission and can relate to your story. I have lived with flare ups of iritis for over 25 years. Doctors say that the underlying cause is my relation to ankylosing spondilytis... although I have never suffered from this debilitating condition, either psoraisis or iritis are common occurrences.
I live in Toronto and would love to get the name of your Chinese herbalist. I have been told that both my liver and kidney are underproducing so anything I can do to strengthen the function of these vital organs makes sense to stave off future iritis outbreaks.
09/13/2011: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "Darren, Chlorella and spirulina are good for the kidneys and liver. You can read about it at chlorellafactor.com - an ebook."
05/27/2012: Sarah from Long Beach, Ca replies: "Yes iritis for ankylosing is indeed connected to the LIVER! I started seeing a herbalist with chinese medicine training... He was able to get me to fully normal with a colon, liver and kidney cleanse and a liver strengthening regimine. Independently, I also found a great Liver Cleanse juice that cleanses the liver very well... 1 Beet, 1 inch ginger, 1/2 bunch parsley with stalks, 1 lemon, and 4 small fugi or gala apples (any apple will do... This just tastes good)... Juice this and drink it... You can increase apple and lemon if you want it to taste like lemonade. I drank 32 oz of this juice for months on and off. (If you get red urine or stool, it is from the beets. If you are worried with the red color, stop for two days and the color will return to normal.)
If you are a diabetic, you can skip the apples, you will still benefit, but I would add greens like, kale, spinach, swiss chard, celery, cilantro and garlic, and mix a good quality spirulina in that).
I am free of iritis and ankylosing now. For three years I had ankylosing all the time and iritis every May during spring allergies and again in October during fall alergies... if I was to do it again, here is what I would do to strengthen and cleanse my liver and kidneys and cleanse my colon.
1. Eat Pineapple every morning... Reduces inflammation. Drink corn silk tea every day as needed (the silky strands on fresh corn reduce inflammation and is great for kidneys... And tea of the skin of the corn, helps diabetics! ... If corn is out of season, find a good quality organic corn silk or chrysanthemum tea online. White chrysanthemum tea also reduces inflammation.)
2. Eat papaya with seeds, and eat mangos every day... helps colon release toxins.
3. Drink lots of water each day (eight glasses or more).
4. Drink the liver cleanse juice (32 oz) every day for a month and then every other day for a month, then every few days or when you remember after that.
5. Make dandelion and Milk Thistle tea and drink that at least once a day for one month, then as you need it for liver cleansing.
6. Most important, add a good supplement like (not in any way related to this company... but) hawaiian pacifica spirulina and drink that religiously in your juice or smoothies.
7. Avoid processed food, beef and pork, fake sweeteners, white sugar, white flour and try to do without wheat and dairy (unless it is raw dairy).
8. Eat high quality free range organic eggs, chicken, fish and turkey, and lots of fresh greens like kale, spinich, swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, celery cucumbers, carrots... if you don't like to eat fresh greens, juice them.
9. If you have to eat breads, pick spouted breads.
You might feel bad for a couple of days to two weeks when first starting this regimine as your body cleanses itself, but after that you will begin to feel stronger each day.
Bonus: 10. Lots of liver problems also cause thyroid problems and other rheumatoids auto-immune problems, if you hypo thyroid, and are not taking prescribed drugs good for you... start supplementing with a high quality kelp and selenium supplement, and get your blood tested again to determine how much kelp and selenium you need.
Bonus: 11. Learn Japa meditation and practice being positive. There is a definite mind body link.
Wishing you much health and success, sarah"
01/14/2013: Wy_flyer from Powell, Wyoming replies: "I am currently suffering from a bought of mild iritis, my first in a very long time. 10-15 years ago I seemed to get it all of the time. The steroid drops I used to take seemed to help a little but would make my eye so cloudy it was like looking through wax paper and would last for 6-8 weeks. The duration seemed to last as long or longer with the drops. Mine always seem to coincide with a cold virus of some sort. I have always had issues with the tail end of a virus hanging on for a long time, 95% over it but can feel a little of it hanging on. This is when it seems it will move to my eye if it is going to. I am 48 now, and as long as I can remember a cold virus would attack different parts of my body, one time settle in my back as back pain, then overnight move to maybe a tooth, that becomes very sensitive to cold etc, then maybe to a sore throat, but then it started attacking my eye instead.
The Iritis in my case seems very much related to stress. When I am having much prolonged stress I am more susceptible. I have multiple businesses so this happens at times, and normally I can control an onset when I feel one coming on just by taking ibuprofen for the pain/swelling. I will try to concentrate on having less sugar and caffeine (especially diet soda pop) in my diet and normally it will go away, but the ibuprofen seems to be the main thing that keeps it in check for me. I have tried many different supplement and diet regiments, and they did not change anything. It all came down to a cold virus and or stress. So I believe that having a healthy diet and supplements as mentioned above, as well as something like yoga etc that will reduce both viruses and stress is key. However you have to find the methods that work for you.
The part I almost hate to bring up so don't take this as a suggestion, just as one more piece of information as to what has worked for me, is I began having a night cap 3-4 days a week when I finally got the iritis under control. As long as I can remember I have been a very restless sleeper, I toss and turn, wake up multiple times, dream heavily, etc. My mind is ALWAYS going. Having a night cap to relax the last hour before bed, which then in turn would make me sleep very soundly most of the night, has made all the difference in calming and relaxing my mind. I have tried sleep aids, herbal sleep supplements, etc and none of them seem to work the same. Again this is just my story, it has caused my body to lessen stress if there is some, and makes me sleep much better and more importantly has helped me be almost iritis flare up free for 10-15 years. Certainly there is no question alcohol can cause numerous other issues, so like most things moderation and other healthy exercise and living habits are key, but always being in pain, embarrassed to be out in public, and knowing it can lead to blindness, are not much of an option in my book either."
03/17/2013: Kantuckee from Green Road, Kentucky, Usa replies: "I developed Iritis in 1984. The doctors scared me with a description of my future. I found out mine was not the typical case. The Iritis only developed in my left eye (right eye, twice in 19 years). I had to use the steroid drops before the doctor could see it or it was almost uncontrollable. What I have learned in the years since is mine is related to the large nasal polyp in the right sinus. If it becomes inflamed it will block the Eustachian tube. This will not only trigger the Iritis; it will affect all the nerves in the right side of my face and the teeth around the sinus too.
Polyps reoccur if removed and without insurance I have to just live with it. 19 years later I am only now starting to have problems with the cataracts growing so you can make a difference with what you do.
I have kept the attack from occurring by keeping the sinus flushed with home made saline solution, colloidal silver (strong solution) and a drop of apple cider vinegar. This will sting if the sinus are raw. It may take months with a nasal spray bottle in my pocket. Control the trigger and the Iritis will stay under control. I am fighting it now because of a terrible cold I developed in December and can't shake. The last time I had it was 5 years ago. I hope this helps."
07/22/2013: Zark from Emerald City, The Land Of Oz replies: "Dear Lana, I have suffered from Iritis in the past, in me this had occurred alongside another autoimmune disorder called Ankylosing Spondylitis. There are two things that worked for my iritis:
1. An antioxidant plant extract called Rutin
2. A diet called the No Starch Diet
- 1. Rutin -
This antioxidant worked quite well for me at a dosage of around 300mg twice a day. Usually with these things I would start with a smaller dose, watch for undesirable effects and gradually increase the dose. I'm uncertain as to whether this has worked well for others - have had practically no feedback. This supplement is not to be used during pregnancy. There is the potential of some immune suppression and I believed that a chest infection only cleared after stopping Rutin. But that would have been after many months of use, so short term use should be fine. For more details on safety, etc see here:
- 2. No Starch Diet (NSD) -
This worked best for me. I have been following this diet for years out of absolute necessity as it has brought my Ankylosing Spondylitis well and truly under control AND as a bonus my iritis stopped altogether whilst on the diet. I also had to give up dairy, except butter and yoghurt are OK. Foods that mix sugar with dairy also caused trouble for my iritis, so watch out for that (protein shakes, caramels, custards, hot chocolate, etc). I have since learnt via observation that I do not tolerate sucrose (table sugar) very well but that I do tolerate glucose and fructose well, eg honey and butter is safe for me, whereas sugar and butter is not (your body may be different so just be on the lookout). I no longer need to take Rutin after starting the No Starch Diet. It is a difficult diet to start with and you really need to listen to your body a lot and observe how foods effect it. Paleo Diet is similar and you may find it easier to start there when looking for recipes (and perhaps skip the sweet potato and yam).
Best of health to you and your family