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J AAPOS. 2001 Feb;5(1):2-4.

The prevalence of uveitis in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Lions Eye Institute, Albany Medical College, New York 12208, USA.



Because asymptomatic uveitis has been an important cause of visual loss in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, periodic ophthalmologic screenings of such patients have been recommended. Recently, some authors have found a decreased prevalence of uveitis in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.


We studied a total of 76 patients (63 girls and 13 boys, aged 1 to 16 years), referred to 3 pediatric ophthalmology practices between March 1976 and October 1999. Follow-up examinations were performed at intervals of 3 to 6 months according to current guidelines, during the following 6 months to 23 years (mean, 55 months).


Uveitis developed in 10 children (13%). Of these 10 children, 2 were symptomatic (blurred vision, discomfort) and 7 were diagnosed with uveitis at the initial visit. Only 1 patient had asymptomatic uveitis after initial negative findings on screening examination. Final visual acuity for all the compliant children in the uveitis group was better than 20/30.


The prevalence of uveitis in our study is similar to rates found by other recent authors. This decrease may reflect a tendency for systemic medications to prevent the development of ocular inflammation. We believe that screening guidelines should be reevaluated, especially for asymptomatic children with negative findings on initial examinations.

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