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What is uveitis? Tom Fletcher details visit to A&E with eye condition

  • Tom Fletcher has had to receive urgent medical care for a rare eye condition called uveitis

  • The singer and author has shared details of his A&E visit, as well as the treatment he now faces

  • Fletcher is among the two to five people in every 10,000 in the UK each year who are affected by the health condition

  • Read the full article to find out more about what exactly it is and what symptoms to look out for

Tom Fletcher, who has had uveitis. (Getty Images)
Tom Fletcher has been struggling with uveitis, which can cause pain and changes to your vision. (Getty Images)

Tom Fletcher has shared details of an A&E visit due to a painful eye condition called uveitis.

The McFly star and author, 37, who appeared on last year's Strictly Come Dancing, uploaded a selfie to Instagram showing his right eye inflamed and sore, and another wearing large black sunglasses.

"Sorry I’ve been quiet for a bit. I was wiped out with some sort of illness and in bed for a few days. I just got back on my feet yesterday and uveitis decided to kick me down again," he wrote.

Read more: Eye health: Sleeping in make-up and other bad habits that could cause harm

The post came as a change from the dad-of-three's recent festive family fun snaps and videos filling his social media feed.

"Very grateful to have a dedicated eye A&E hospital in London! It’s the 2nd time I’ve stumbled into that place holding my eyes and they’ve been amazing," Fletcher added.

"Also, shout out to my amazing optician, Dipesh at @parkerandhammond who was giving me advice at nearly midnight last night. Hero!"

"For now, it’s dark rooms, sunglasses and 6 weeks of steroids. Merry Christmas!"

The musician was inundated with supportive messages, including from celebrity friends Lisa Snowdon, who wrote,"Ouch- feel better soon", while Ore Oduba commented, "Oh mate. Get better soon."

Read more: As Celine Dion is diagnosed with neurological disease, what is 'Stiff Person Syndrome'?

Meanwhile, fans shared their own challenging experiences with uveitis.

"This sucks! Get better soon. I’ve had reoccurring uveitis for about 6 years now with no helpful suggestions or remedies it’s horrible. Lucky you got sorted so quickly x," said one.

"I can’t believe there are other people on here with Uveitis! I thought I was alone. Just booked in for my steroid eye injection again due to a flare up (I’m still completely terrified of having it, all these years later). Get well soon Tom," commented another.

But what exactly is the eye condition and what are the signs?

What is uveitis?

Man rubbing his right eye in pain. (Getty Images)
Uveitis can affect just one or both of your eyes. (Getty Images)

Uveitis is when the middle layer of the eye (known as the uvea or uveal tract) becomes inflamed, causing pain and changes to your vision, according to the NHS.

It's rare and is thought to affect only around two to five people in every 10,000 in the UK each year. It's most common in those aged 20 to 59, but it can sometimes affect children.

Many cases are linked to a problem with the immune system, which can become overactive in the eye, though more research is needed to understand why. Occasionally, it's caused by an infection or eye injury, and can also happen after surgery. Sometimes a cause cannot be identified at all.

While most cases get better with treatment, it can lead to potentially more serious eye problems like glaucoma (where the optic nerve becomes damaged) and cataracts (when the lens develops cloudy patches).

But the sooner the treatment for uveitis, the more likely it will be successful.

Read more: Poor quality sleep may be linked to heightened risk of glaucoma, new study finds

Uveitis symptoms

There are a range of symptoms you may experience with uveitis, which can either develop suddenly or gradually, affecting one or both eyes.

These include:

  • eye pain

  • eye redness

  • sensitivity to light

  • blurred or cloudy vision

  • small shapes moving across your field of vision

  • loss of the ability to see objects at the side of your field of vision

Uveitis treatment

A young woman having an eye scan. (Getty Images)
You may be given eye scans, X-rays and blood tests before being recommended treatment. (Getty Images)

Steroid medicine is the most common treatment for uveitis as it can help to reduce inflammation inside your eye. Depending on the type you have, whether the front, middle, or back of the eye is affected, these might include eyedrops, injections, tablets and capsules.

Additional treatment might be needed, including surgery, in some cases.

If you have symptoms of uveitis, including persistent eye pain or an unusual change in your vision, don't delay in contacting your GP to prevent further complications, especially if you've had it before.

You then may be referred to a specialist who will examine your eye and, if diagnosed, suggest more tests to establish a cause and decide on the best treatment for you.

For more information, support and advice on uveitis, visit Olivia's Vision.

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