Category: 

What Is Pars Planitis?

Pars planitis may occur as a symptom of multiple sclerosis.
The uvea has three main parts: the iris, ciliary body and choroid.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
A red blood cell can pass through a person's entire body in 20 seconds.  more...

December 19 ,  1998 :  President Bill Clinton was formally impeached by the House of Representatives.  more...

Pars planitis, also known as intermediate uveitis, is an inflammation of the eye. While treatment exists to correct the condition, severe side affects can occur if the condition is ignored. Untreated, some experts believe about one in five patients will suffer serious vision loss or even blindness.

The human eye is comprised of several layers, each with a distinct function. The middle section, or uvea, supplies blood to the retina and is composed of the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. Within the ciliary body is the pars plana, which contributes to eye function by making and distributing the liquid needed for the eye to function correctly. Pars planitis is an infection of the pars plana, characterized by excess white blood cells clouding the vision because of the inflammation.

The cause of pars planitis is not entirely known, though it can occur as a symptom of a system-wide disease such as multiple sclerosis. The condition can develop both in adults and in children, and may occur in one or both eyes. Symptoms of pars planitis include clouding, also called snowbanking, of the middle chamber of the eye. Depending on the severity of the condition, surgery may be required to clear the eye of the white blood cells causing the cloudy appearance, as dissipation is a long process even with treatment.

Ad

Treatment for pars planitis typically involves the use of immunosuppressant drugs. These medications are often administered as injections, as eye drops cannot reach the inner layers of the eye where the infection is occurring. Immunosuppressants stop the body's immune reaction to a perceived threat, preventing any more inflammation from occurring in the eye. If the clouding of the eye is relatively minor, a course of injections may be the only treatment required to eliminate the condition.

If the condition does not subside after the first few injections, doctors still have several options for treating pars planitis patients. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to fully remove the infection and resulting white blood cell clouding. Unfortunately, though treatment is highly effective in eliminating the condition, patients who have pars planitis without an associated systemic illness can suffer recurring infections, although there is some evidence that surgery makes recurrence less likely.

Though treatable, pars planitis is an extremely serious condition. Anyone experiencing vision loss or seeing streaks or spots in their eyes should seek treatment at once. Like most medical problems, pars planitis is more easily treatable if caught early, and patients may be able to avoid surgery through prompt medical care.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon947884
Post 25

I was diagnosed with PP about two years ago when I was between the ages of 18 and 19. I went to see one specialist based out of Ohio and Hermitage, PA, since I live in PA myself.

The specialist told me pretty much I had to live with it. My left eye is mostly affected. I have constant headaches and migraines due to my light sensitivity. My specialist in from Hermitage told me her did not want to put me on meds and he will "monitor" it once a year.

I was not pleased with those results, so I went to get a second opinion. I went to UPMC in Pittsburgh, and was put on steroid eye drops. I was on them for one year, but even my specialist said it wasn't making a difference. I feel like I am being pushed aside and nobody wants to help me. Does anyone have a suggestion? I'm at my wits' end. I'm afraid it will spread to my right eye and I am having more difficulties with my left, but no one will help me.

anon349704
Post 24

I was diagnosed with PP when I was 27, following the birth of my son in 1995. I went to an ophthalmologist within weeks of my first floaters and was immediately diagnosed by Dr. Sanjay Shah in Cedar Rapids, IA. I was originally put on 180 mg of oral prednisone and eye drops. As I was weaned off the steroids, I took a low dose of methotrexate for about 14 years. I am very lucky that my only surgeries have been for cataracts and follow-up laser surgery for scarring. I am now 45 and haven't had any flare-ups since my last dose of mtx. My vision is 20/30.

anon284035
Post 23

Stanford University in Palo Alto is inventing all kinds of new ways to try and restore vision.

anon284034
Post 22

I've had PP since I was the age of 23 after moving from Denver, Colorado. I saw my specialist every year. I had the normal floaters, cataracts, problems with vision, etc.

Fast forward 20 years later. This January I started having the light flashes and found out that I had a retina break. I have lost some vision in the affected eye, not just with the floaters but total loss. I was told that I know also have Retinochesis, which is the retina separating into layers.

My vision cannot be repaired and we are waiting to see if it can be stopped. I was told that this was from years of inflammation and the tugging on my retina.

anon267847
Post 21

I was diagnosed almost two years ago with PP. My first doctor told me he couldn't see anything and to learn to live with it. My brother was diagnosed six months before me and insisted my doctor was a quack and I should go see his retinal specialist.

My brother was right. I had the same exact thing as him and we have an aunt on our mother's side who had the same thing, too. I had the drops for a good year and then I had my first shot in the right eye. It did wonders. Si6 months after that, I had a shot in my left eye and it seems to be doing wonderfully. I have learned to live with the snowballs and floaters but in my opinion, what's important is catching it early enough.

I guess once the eye is damaged badly there is no going back. My doctor is wonderful: Dr. Joseph Kony in Cleveland, Ohio. Without him I probably would have been blind by now.

anon257020
Post 20

I was diagnosed with PP at age 11. I am 19 years old now. Mine started out with floaters in one eye then the floaters got worse and moved to the other eye. I have had many different surgeries and procedures but a year ago I decided to stop with the surgeries and procedures.

Throughout the years, I have learned to live with it and I always remind myself it could be worse. The hardest part for me was not being able to do all the things my friends were doing, like getting your drivers license when you turn 16, playing baseball, and other sports. I used to play baseball and I loved it but I lost my night vision and my day vision started to get worse so I had to quit.

I have emailed many different doctors to see if there is anything I can do to get my night vision back but so far I haven't gotten any answers. If there are any suggestions, please let me know.

anon226303
Post 19

Maxidex (dexamethasone) warning.

I had eye surgery and in the post-op pack was Maxidex (dexamethasone) drops by Alcon Labs. Two days later I was blind. You can look up this loss of vision online.

anon198156
Post 18

I remember it well. I was 11 and sitting in class staring at a white wall and noticed a little brown squiggle which would follow my vision in my right eye. I thought something was stuck in my eye. It was my first floater. The first of many, many floaters.

It gradually got worse in high school, until I finally was referred to a specialist who diagnosed me with Iritis. I was put on steroid drops, which seemed to do nothing.

A year or so later, I realized they had become much worse. If I squint and say, look at a clear blue sky or white sheet of paper, I see squillions of little cells. It's like looking through a very crowded microscope. I was tired of not having answers so I sought a different eye specialist who finally diagnosed me with PP.

Eye tests showed I had perfect vision in the affected eye, despite the floaters. (Even though the unaffected left eye is a bit weaker, go figure.) I do see halos around light sources, and there are cloudy banks, but I'm used to it now. I also had a very minor cataract developing.

The specialist didn't believe on putting me on anything for it. Apparently, it's a very long winded condition (lasting decades in some cases) and the steroids often cause more complications than the PP itself. I'd rather not subject my body to unnecessary chemicals. I see the specialist once a year to check up on the condition. At my recent visit in March he mentioned the condition clearing very slightly. I don't notice a difference (maybe not as many blurry patches) but it was a comforting thought.

I haven't actually been tested for MS, which is interesting, as none of the specialists or doctors I saw considered it part of a systemic disease.

I'm 25 now, so I've been living with it for quite a while. I always think it could be worse I suppose. It would be awful lonely without floaters. I honestly can't remember what clear vision in both eyes is like! (And to top it all off I'm a graphic designer by trade, so lots of staring at screens.)

anon188639
Post 17

I have had Pars Planitis since I was 14 (35 now) and I have a lot of floaters and snowbanking in both eyes. I was also diagnosed with iritis as a teen.

My only difference than the other posters here is that I have only ever received treatment as a teen, and that was for the iritis (scarring of the iris, had to keep the pupil dilated for months at a time) I was on steroid drops at that time, but cannot remember which disease it was for.

I still see a specialist for the PP, but he is not actively treating the disease, just keeping an eye on it. Except for a few new floaters, i have had no change in my vision, although I don't really "know" what to look for. Is it like looking through vaseline? does your vision grow dark? go white? do you have trouble focusing your vision?

anon167128
Post 16

I was diagnosed with Pars planitis at age 28. I was experiencing a huge array of floaters in my right eye. I went numerous times before finally someone discovered what was happening to my eye. They saw the white snowbanks forming in my right eye.

I went to my eye doctor and he referred me to a retina specialist at Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA. The doctor provided me with the steroid drops (although I am off of them now) since I am apparently not "flared up". I am so fearful of when the terrible floaters will return. This is such a horrible disease. And, I wonder if I should still be taking steroid drops to prevent anything else from coming back? Also, the doctor said that sometimes the disease just dissipates in time. Is this true?

anon164793
Post 15

I was diagnosed with Par Planitis when I was 12. I'm 45 now and still dealing with this problem. I have been on Pred forte 1 percent since day one. I have been to Duke Medical Center, and many other ophthalmologists and not a single one of these doctors know of an immediate cure. I had cataract surgery when I was 20 (in both eyes) and the best my vision has gotten with corrective lenses is 20/30. This is a terrible disease but can be kept in check by your doctor.

anon159122
Post 14

My son was diagnosed at age 5 with pars planitis. He is now 8 and doing quite well. If any of you can get to the University of Iowa Retinal Clinic, you need to see Dr. James Folk. He is the best there is in this field and has taken my son from nearly legally blind to nearly 20/30 vision. He has had numerous surgeries, eye patches, drops, cataract & glaucoma treatment, more drops, and it's been a long road for him, but he has the best gift of all...his vision! We would travel the globe to see Dr. Folk!!

anon142727
Post 13

help my son also was diagnosed with pars planitis at age seven. He is now 20 and has been on steroids, methotrexate and now they want to do cataract surgery. i am fearful of him losing his sight. i need a good second opinion from a good surgeon. thank you.

anon141761
Post 12

My son was diagnosed with pars planitis 1.5 years ago at the age of 8. We live in the Chicagoland area and have found a fantastic doctor out of UIC. Her name is Dr. Debra Goldstein and I would recommend her to anyone. She speaks to my son, not at him or down to him. She generally cares and is never in a rush when we have questions.

anon127908
Post 11

i was nine when i went blind in my left eye. i slowly started getting my vision back and then i went to the eye pavilion to see what caused it.

i had so many different tablets for so many different things it could be but the doctors couldn't seem the find out what it was. three years later i went to aberdeen and within half an hour they told me it was pars planitis and i started getting loads of tablets to try and get my sight back in my left eye.

the tablets that i took killed my immune system and one morning my mum found me on the bathroom floor unconscious because i had caught the bug and i had to get rushed to hospital.

i stopped taking my tablets for two years and now i am 16 and in my left eye i have cataracts, scarring and pars planitis and my right eye has pars planitis. i got told two days ago if i don't take the tablets again i will be blind in less than two years.

anon102244
Post 10

I was diagnosed with Pars Planitis at 11 years old. I had complained of floaters in my left eye for some time, but was not taken seriously. A routine eye exam at school made them look into it.

At first it was said that I had a cataract since birth -- not right, because my vision was cloudy with little snowballs bouncing around. Luckily, my parents took me to a specialist who gave me the right diagnosis. It was caught in time and after a couple steroid shots, my vision was getting better.

I still have residual floaters, but they are constant friends.

anon88612
Post 9

My son, five years old, complained suddenly of inability to see in the right eye. he was diagnosed to have a bilateral vitreous hemorrhage dense on the right and after a month of looking for a doctor to diagnose further, he was finally said to have pp.

his hemorrhage has cleared and he is on .5mg/kg/day of prednisolone. he is scheduled for a uveitis specialist chest at the proctor foundation UCSF. Can someone shed more light and guidance?

if there is a similar case i would like to share experiences. -- an48080

anon82711
Post 8

I was diagnosed with pars planitis when I was 10. I grew up in a rural area and was not able to find a doctor that could treat my condition till I was 16. I received a series of steroid injections. Followed by three different eye drops daily. The inflammation has been under control for years without medication, however I am legally blind in one eye.

anon78592
Post 7

I was also diagnosed with pars planitis when I was 26 years old; soon after the birth of my daughter.

I started experiencing floaters, which my doctor explained as perfectly normal for my age? After the floaters got so bad that I could barely see, he finally referred me to a specialist.

Steroid injections caused the pressure in my eye to reach dangerous highs, so I was treated with pred forte instead. After a few months, a blood vessel in one eye started leaking and I was blind in the eye for the time it took for the blood to disappear. Unfortunately this kept happening so often that I ended up blind in both eyes for weeks at a time.

Finally, a surgery and cryo treatment ended the bleedings. I am now more stable and see my doctor once a year. I am off the eye drops since they do not seem to make any difference at this time.

Six months ago I had cataract surgery and it went well. From the time I was diagnosed until now it has been 15 years and I have learned to live with some floater flare ups and of course wearing my sunglasses almost all the time.

Since I live in Florida I have been seen at the Anne Bates Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (a wonderful hospital).

anon78178
Post 6

My son (age 30) was diagnosed with Pars Planitis in both eyes 18 months ago. Left eye had one steroid injection in the back of the eye - vision cleared and then a herpes virus attacked resulting in ARN leaving him with possible permanent damage. He is now on daily Valtrex doses to prevent recurrence.

PP has returned to left eye but now they don't want to risk another steroid shot so put him on oral steroids - side effects are challenging. Right eye - two steroid shots, one in back of eye and one into eye - result is a cataract.

Vision is 20/30 but he can't do computer work etc. They don't want to risk cataract surgery with the left eye compromised.

Frustration is constant - seems as though the steroids caused more damage than the uveitis.

So now what? He would like to get off of the steroids. A rheumatoid doctor recommended "Cellcept" or "Humira" - does anyone know of these treatments or others? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

anon70279
Post 5

You can take treatment in lv prasad eye institute, hyderabad, india, or if you're in the UK then go for morris's eye hospital in uk.

anon66086
Post 3

I was diagnosed with Pars Planitis 17 years ago just before giving birth to my second daughter. My left eye appeared to be more critical than the right. I required steroid injections on a regular basis.

I was under the care of a retina specialist, then referred to an eye specialist in Boston and NYC where I was put on methotrexate. I was unable to remain on the drug for more than three months because of the changes to my liver as seen through required blood work.

I also suffered from severe joint pain from the drug use. I developed glaucoma in the left eye and required glaucoma surgery; I also had cataract surgery because of the many steroid injections. I have been under the care of Philip Fiore in NJ for approximately nine years. I see him every three months.

I am stable but have much damage to the optic nerve in the left eye. The right eye suffers from macular degeneration. In reading this web page I was surprised to see the association to a system-wide disease (of which I have never been determined as having although my father had MS).

Recently I have been told that my blood sugar levels are high (borderline diabetic) and would like to investigate that a bit further. I feel very blessed to have Dr. Fiore as my doctor. His attention to my case has been beyond my expectations and he is very knowledgeable of the conditions.

anon49911
Post 2

to anon48079, i have lost vision in my right eye and have clouding in my left eye. it started when i was about 27 and am now 56 I went to different doctors over the years with little being told to me over the years for all my enquiring. i was referred to a Dr. Brenden Vote a couple of years back and have found him frank and most helpfull. he has the Launceston Eye Institute in Tasmania. I don't know where you're from, but i hope this may be of help to you and your daughter.

anon48079
Post 1

My daughter was diagnosed with pars planitis 5 years ago and was given huge amounts of steroids. she has lost the vision in one eye and the other eye has severe symptoms and she is now on methotrexate. can someone please tell me where we can go for a treatment and a different doctor?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email