Uveitis is a chronic inflammatory disease which causes swelling and pain in eye tissues, mainly uvea. It also affects the retina, lens, vitreous and optic nerve, thus hampering the vision of a person. The chances of vision being affected depends on the severity of the disease. People in the age group of 20 to 60 years are most affected by this disease. The severity of the disease can vary from acute to chronic. The different types of uveitis based on the location of the affected tissue includes anterior uveitis, intermediate uveitis, posterior uveitis and panuveitis uveitis. Uveitis is mainly caused by any infection, toxins which penetrate in the eye, or any bruise to the eye or due to an attack from the body’s own immune system. Uveitis can be associated with many diseases including behcet’s syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, herpes zoster infection, rheumatoid arthritis and others.
Uveitis includes symptoms such as blurred vision, dark, floating spots in the vision, redness in the eye, pain and sensitivity to light. The disease is diagnosed by examining the symptoms and eye examination, which includes an eye chart or visual acuity test, a funduscopic exam, ocular pressure and a slit lamp exam. Uveitis is treated by first eliminating inflammation, alleviating pain, preventing further tissue damage and restoring any loss of vision. Treatments depend on the type of uveitis a patient displays. Some, such treatments include, using corticosteroid eye drops and injections around the eye or inside the eye, may exclusively target the eye whereas other treatments, such as immunosuppressive agents, taken by mouth, may be used when the disease is occurring in both eyes, particularly at the back of both eyes. The treatment usually includes steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Various advancements in technologies at cellular and molecular level are driving the growth of uveitis therapeutics pipeline. Also, drug manufacturing companies are using various promising targets for the treatment of the disease. Targeted therapy is more effective in achieving good results. The potential targets will possibly stop or slow the progression of the disease with better efficacy and lesser side effects.
As of May 2017, the uveitis pipeline comprises approximately 33 active drug candidates in different stages of development.
UVEITIS PIPELINE SPLIT, BY TARGET (2017)
Some of the key players developing drugs for the treatment of uveitis include Aldeyra Therapeutics, Inc., EyeGate Pharmaceuticals, Inc., pSivida Corp. and others.
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