CHICAGO—Prevent Blindness, a leading eye health and safety nonprofit organization, has declared Sept. 18–24, 2023, as the third annual Inflammatory Eye Disease (IED) Awareness Week. IEDs include a range of conditions associated with eye inflammation. Different types of IEDs include uveitis, keratitis, conjunctivitis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid eye disease. In addition to free downloadable fact sheets and social media graphics in English and Spanish, Prevent Blindness hosts a dedicated webpage on IEDs and a listing of financial assistance resources. IED Awareness Week is supported by a grant from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

Prevent Blindness is also debuting a new episode in the online Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Uveitis and Inflammatory Eye Diseases." Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, interviews Steven Yeh, MD, professor and Stanley Truhlsen Jr., chair of ophthalmology, Truhlsen Eye Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Yeh is also a volunteer on the Prevent Blindness Scientific Committee.

Uveitis is a term used to describe a group of inflammatory diseases or inflammation of the eye, which can be serious and lead to permanent vision loss. Uveitis causes about 30,000 new cases of blindness each year in the U.S. Signs and symptoms of uveitis include: eye redness, eye pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, dark, floating spots in field of vision (floaters),and decreased vision.

In addition to uveitis, there are many other types of IED. To help explain, Prevent Blindness offers the “Inflammatory Eye Disease” episode of the Focus on Eye Health Expert Series. This episode features Ann-Marie Lobo-Chan, MD, MS, of the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, associate professor of ophthalmology, co-director, uveitis service, University of Illinois College of Medicine, department of ophthalmology, and patient Addison Schwaller, emergency medicine physician assistant at Logansport Memorial Hospital in Logansport, Ind.

“Although ‘Inflammatory Eye Disease’ may not be a term that most people are familiar with, it is a condition that can have a severe impact on vision if left untreated,” said Todd. “We encourage people to educate themselves on the various types of IEDs and whether they are at risk for, or have developed them already, to help prevent unnecessary vision loss.”

For more information on inflammatory eye disease, click here. For a listing of vision care financial assistance programs in English or Spanish, click here.