Because of the expertise of ophthalmologists like Drs. Caroline Minkus and Justin Yamanuha, University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians) is uniquely positioned to treat rare eye conditions––like uveitis––which require a collaborative, holistic approach that spans beyond just eye care.

“At M Physicians, we’re lucky to have several uveitis specialists, which is unusual,” said Dr. Minkus, an ophthalmologist at M Physicians. 

Along with a comprehensive team of ophthalmologists, Dr. Minkus has been practicing at the M Health Fairview Phillips-Wangensteen Building Eye Clinic and the M Health Fairview Clinics and Surgery Center - Maple Grove since early 2021. She completed surgical fellowships in ocular immunology and uveitis from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical Center and Northwestern University, seeing both adult and pediatric patients with inflammatory eye disease, and has specialized training to do cataract surgery in eyes that have a history of inflammation. At Maple Grove, she’s the comprehensive ophthalmology provider for adults and provides the spectrum of care from eye exams to managing more complex diseases.

Another partner, Dr. Yamanuha, has practiced at the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center and Phillips-Wangensteen Building Eye Clinic for a year and a half. He completed both uveitis and medical retina fellowships at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and sees both adult and pediatric patients. 

“I want to help patients really understand what’s happening with their eyes,” said Dr. Yamanuha. “Many times, the diagnosis is new for a patient or their family, so I try to communicate thoroughly and reach a treatment plan in partnership with patients and their providers.” 

Uveitis is an umbrella term for a number of inflammatory conditions in the eye, whether stemming from infection or autoimmune conditions. While uveitis itself is relatively rare, the inflammation can damage eye tissues and vision, so seeking prompt care from a specialist is critical.

“While uveitis can be caused by infection, it’s more commonly associated with autoimmune or inflammatory conditions that affect the whole body, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis or Crohn's disease,” Dr. Minkus explained. “Sometimes the eye is the first place these diseases present, so we’re able to not only make a diagnosis, but also connect patients with other specialists if the inflammation is elsewhere. Sometimes these diagnoses are life-saving.”

Typically, uveitis presents as a combination of eye pain, redness, eye floaters and light sensitivity, but some people may not feel any pain or discomfort.

“While we can sometimes identify a specific cause, many times we don’t know exactly why someone may develop uveitis, but we can still initiate treatment,” Dr. Yamanuha said. “Depending on the severity of the inflammation, we might use a combination of eye drops, immunosuppressant medicines or steroids, or steroid eye injections as part of the treatment plan.”

Treatment has to be carefully monitored in conjunction with other specialists, so long-term check-ups are typically necessary. In addition, inflammatory conditions are often characterized by unpredictable flare ups, so the goal is to get patients situated with a treatment plan in case that happens. Both Drs. Minkus and Yamanuha, and their teams, collaborate across specialties and practices to deliver the best possible care and protect patients’ vision comprehensively.

“Many times, the appropriate treatment can make a really big difference. It’s important to know that generally, these things are very treatable, especially if diagnosed early and followed regularly,” Dr. Minkus said. “If there’s any concern, getting a thorough and complete eye exam would be the first step to getting appropriate care.”

Contact our providers:

Caroline Minkus, MD
Phillips-Wangensteen Building Eye Clinic
For Appointments: 612‑625‑4400
516 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

M Health Fairview Clinics and Surgery Center - Maple Grove
For Appointments: 763-898-1000
14500 99th Ave. N
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Justin Yamanuha, MD
Phillips-Wangensteen Building Eye Clinic
For Appointments: 612‑625‑4400
516 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center
For Appointments: 612-625-4400
500 Harvard St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455