Pars planitis

What causes pars planitis?

The exact underlying cause of pars planitis is unknown. Scientists suspect that it is an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues (certain parts of the eyes, in this case). This is further supported by the fact that pars planitis is sometimes associated with other autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis and sarcoidosis.

Although most cases occur sporadically in people with no family history of the condition, pars planitis can rarely affect more than one family member. In these cases, there may be a genetic component; however, a disease-causing gene and specific inheritance pattern have not been identified.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How is pars planitis diagnosed?

Pars planitis is typically diagnosed based on a specialized eye examination. During the exam, the ophthalmologist will typically see clusters of white blood cells trapped within the eyeball that are called snowballs (or "inflammatory exudate"). If these clusters are located on the pars plana, they are known as snowbanks. Snowbanks are considered a "hallmark" sign of pars planitis.

It is often recommended that people over age 25 with pars planitis have an MRI of their brain and spine to rule out multiple sclerosis.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Can vision be restored after it has been affected by pars planitis?

Vision loss and reduced visual acuity associated with pars planitis may occur due to a variety of factors including epiretinal membrane, macular edema, clouding of the fluid in the center of the eye, inflammation of blood vessels in the eye (vasculitis), and cataracts. Some studies suggest that it is best to treat inflammation in pars planitis quickly and completely to reduce the chance of complications that may affect vision clarity and that, in some cases, treatment can help to restore vision. Unfortunately, some severely affected people may experience progressive vision loss despite appropriate treatment.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might pars planitis be treated?

The first approach to treating pars planitis is corticosteroid eye drops or injections near the eye to control inflammation. Non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin) or steroid medications (such as prednisone) can be taken by mouth. If these strategies are not successful, other medications may be given to reduce the body's immune response (medications called immunosuppressants, such as methotrexate).

If medications are not effective, surgery may be considered. Cryotherapy has been performed in affected people to remove eye tissue that has inflammation. Although this surgery has been shown to be effective in restoring clarity of vision, there are concerns that it may cause damage to other parts of the eye. Another surgery, known as vitrectomy, can be done to remove cloudy fluid (vitreous humor) from the eye.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Where To Start

Pars Planitis - Resources

The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides information about pars planitis. Click on the link to view the information related to this topic.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: American Uveitis Society PO Box 016880
Miami, FL, 33101-6880, United States
Phone: 305-326-6377 Fax : 305-326-6071 Url:
Name: Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation 348 Glen Road
Weston, MA, 02493, United States
Phone: +1-781-647-1431 Email:; (support) Url:
Name: American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) 22100 Gratiot Avenue
Eastpointe, MI, 48021, United States
Phone: 586-776-3900 Toll Free: 800-598-4668 Fax : 586-776-3903 Email: Url:

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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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