Purpose: To investigate the incidence and prevalence rates of different types of uveitis in children, and to compare them with the rates in adults.
Subjects and methods: For this population-based retrospective study the medical records of all residents of the district of Turku University Hospital with a diagnosis of uveitis seen at the Eye Clinic of Turku University Hospital during the years 1980-1982 and 1988 were reviewed.
Results: A total of 1122 uveitis cases were identified, and 55 (4.9%) of them were children under 16 years. The incidence per 100 000 population per year for all uveitis cases in children was 4.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2 to 6.4), and the prevalence was 27.9 (95% CI, 17.1 to 38.6), which was significantly lower compared with the rates in adults (p=0.001 for incidence and prevalence). The vast majority of children, 50 (90.9%), had anterior uveitis (AU), and the incidence and prevalence rates of AU were significantly lower than in adults (p=0.001 for incidence and prevalence). Three (5.5%) children had posterior uveitis (PU), but there was no significant difference in the incidence and only marginally significant difference in the prevalence rate of PU in children compared with the rates in adults (p=0.33 for incidence, and p=0.07 for prevalence). Only one case (1.8%) was found with intermediate and one with panuveitis, but no new cases. The commonest diagnostic groups in children were AU associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, idiopathic acute anterior uveitis, and idiopathic chronic anterior uveitis. Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis was found in all of the PU cases with the incidence 0.3, and the prevalence 1.1, which did not differ significantly from the rates in adults (p=1.0 for incidence, and p= 0.48 for prevalence).
Conclusion: Uveitis is rarer in children than in adults. However, in contrast to studies from tertiary referral centers, the distribution of different forms of uveitis in children in this population-based study seems to resemble the distribution in adults.