Facts About Behçet’s Disease of the Eye

This information was developed by the National Eye Institute to help patients and their families search for general information about Behçet’s Disease. An eye care professional who has examined the patient’s eyes and is familiar with his or her medical history is the best person to answer specific questions.

Behçet’s Defined

What is Behçet’s disease?

Behçet’s disease is an autoimmune disease that results from damage to blood vessels throughout the body, particularly veins. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks and harms the body’s own tissues. This disease is also known as adamantiades.


What causes Behçet’s disease?

The exact cause is unknown. It is believed that an autoimmune reaction may cause blood vessels to become inflamed, but it is not clear what triggers this reaction.


What are the symptoms of Behçet’s disease?

Behçet’s disease affects each person differently. The four most common symptoms are mouth sores, genital sores, inflammation inside of the eye, and skin problems. Inflammation inside of the eye (uveitis, retinitis, and iritis) occurs in more that half of those with Behçet’s disease and can cause blurred vision, pain, and redness.

Other symptoms may include arthritis, blood clots, and inflammation in the central nervous system and digestive organs.


How is Behçet’s disease treated?

There is no cure for Behçet’s disease. Treatment typically focuses on reducing discomfort and preventing serious complications. Corticosteroids and other medications that suppress the immune system may be prescribed to treat inflammation.

What is the prognosis for someone with Behçet’s disease?

Behçet’s is a chronic disease that recurs. However, patients may have periods of time when symptoms go away temporarily (remission). How severe the disease is varies from patient to patient. Some patients may live normal lives, but others may become blind or severely disabled.

Last Reviewed: 
September 2009

Fact Sheet Blurb

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is the Federal government’s lead agency for vision research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness.