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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2003 Aug-Sep;13(7):616-21.

Prognosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis-associated uveitis.

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Immunovirology Ocular Service, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Roma La Sapienza, Roma, Italy.



To evaluate the clinical characteristics and the visual prognosis of uveitis in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).


The authors examined 63 patients with uveitis and JRA observed from January 1985 to December 2000. The following characteristics of each patient were considered: age at first visit, age at onset of uveitis and arthritis, sex, laterality and localization of uveitis, ocular complications, antinuclear antibody (ANA) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DR11 positivity, and follow-up. A retrospective study on mid-time visual outcome and ocular complications was performed on 42 patients with more than 12 months of follow-up.


A total of 76.2% of the patients were female, with a mean age of 8.1 years. Chronic anterior uveitis was bilateral in 77.8% of the cases and unilateral in 22.2%. Arthritis was oligoarticular at onset in 87.3% of cases, and polyarticular in 12.7%. Mean age at arthritis onset was 4.5 years and mean age at uveitis onset was 5.4 years. ANA were positive in 92% of cases and HLA DR11 was present in 36 of the 43 patients tested (83.7%). Among the 42 patients with more than 12 months of follow-up, ocular complications occurred in 90.5% of cases and the most frequent were cataract (64.4% of eyes) and band keratopathy (59.2% of eyes). Secondary glaucoma (25% of eyes) was associated with the worst visual prognosis. A total of 64.5% of eyes maintained a visual acuity between 20/33 and 20/20 at the end of the follow-up.


Visual prognosis of uveitis associated with JRA is improving, owing to earlier diagnosis and intensive treatment. Ocular complications occurred frequently in patients with uveitis and JRA but they did not seem to seriously affect the final visual outcome. The authors did not observe any correlation between prognosis and sex, age at the onset of uveitis or arthritis, pattern of arthritis, or positivity for ANA or HLA DR11. In a percentage of cases, uveitis may develop before arthritis or years after the onset of arthritis; therefore, continuous ophthalmologic examinations are needed in young people with JRA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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