Objective: To obtain information on the occurrence and characteristics of uveitis in a population-based survey of patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).
Methods: The subjects in this study were entitled, under the nationwide sickness insurance scheme, to receive specially reimbursed medication for JRA in 5 of the 21 central hospital districts in Finland (population base about 270,000 children < 16 years of age) in 1980, 1985 and 1990.
Results: A total of 114 incident cases (34 boys and 80 girls) satisfied the criteria for JRA. Uveitis was diagnosed in 18 of these patients (16%). The mean age of uveitis patients at the diagnosis of JRA was 6.8 years (median 5.4 years) and the mean interval from the diagnosis of JRA to the detection of uveitis was 2.9 years. Silent (asymptomatic) anterior uveitis was found in 4 boys and 11 girls and acute anterior uveitis in 2 boys. One girl had marginal corneal ulceration with mild anterior uveitis. Uveitis was chronic (> 6 months) in 9 cases. Uveal inflammation was most severe in the 3 children whose uveitis was detected at the time of the diagnosis of JRA.
Conclusion: The study provides population-based information on the occurrence and characteristics of uveitis associated with JRA.