Purpose: To investigate the risk factors for developing uveitis in a regional cohort of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) as classified under ILAR criteria.
Patients and methods: The clinical factors for developing uveitis and its visual outcome were studied retrospectively for all children diagnosed with JIA at Nottingham University Hospital, England from 1974 to 2001.
Results: A total of 202 patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis were identified. Twenty-three patients (11.4%) were found to have uveitis. The mean age of arthritis onset in those with uveitis was 4.9 (95% CI 3.4-6.4) and in those without uveitis was 7.6 (95% CI 7.0-8.3), p = 0.002. Both the persistent and extended oligoarthritis groups are at significant risk of developing uveitis on Kaplan-Meier analysis with p = 0.001 and 0.013, respectively, compared to other ILAR subtypes. Extended oligoarthritis (1 to 4 joints affected in first 6 months of disease but 5 or more cumulative joints after first 6 months) had the highest prevalence of uveitis (25%) among the ILAR subtypes. Patients with extended oligoarthritis also developed uveitis earlier than persistent group, p = 0.017. Gender, race, and antinuclear antibody (ANA) status were not significant risk factors. The visual outcome was favorable, with 90% achieving acuity of 6/12 or better.
Conclusion: Patients with extended oligoarthritis are at higher risk and have a shorter interval from diagnosis of arthritis to development of uveitis and need to be monitored more closely. Screening guideline for JIA-associated uveitis based on ILAR classification is called for.