Prevalence and complications of uveitis in juvenile idiopathic arthritis in a population-based nation-wide study in Germany: suggested modification of the current screening guidelines

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2007 Jun;46(6):1015-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kem053. Epub 2007 Apr 2.


Objectives: To analyse the prevalence and complications of uveitis and their predictors in a large cohort of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Methods: Data of 3271 JIA patients as classified by International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) criteria included in a national database during 1 yr were analysed.

Results: Uveitis prevalence was 12% of all JIA patients. The most frequent were oligoarthritis extended (25%) and persistent (16%). JIA patients with uveitis were significantly younger at onset of arthritis (3.8 vs 7.0 yrs) or ANA-positive (86% vs 42%) than the patients without uveitis. Predictors of uveitis included age at onset (P= 0.03) and ANA-positivity (P< 0.01) besides the presence of a certain JIA subgroup (P= 0.04). Uveitis was clinically silent in 75% of the oligoarthritis but in none of the enthesitis-related arthritis patients. The median onset of uveitis was 5.5 months after arthritis manifestation. In 73%, 77% and 90%, uveitis developed within 1, 2 and 4 yrs after arthritis, respectively. Anterior uveitis was the most common anatomic type of uveitis (83%). Uveitis complications at mean follow-up of 5.6 yrs were common (56%), and predictors for complications included presence of complications at first visit (P< 0.001) and uveitis manifestation before arthritis (P= 0.001), but not ANA positivity.

Conclusions: The JIA subgroups markedly differ with respect to the prevalence and course of associated uveitis. Ophthalmological screening should be initiated early after arthritis onset and the intervals be related to the JIA subgroup. A modification of the current screening guidelines is suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / complications
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prevalence
  • Time Factors
  • Uveitis / complications
  • Uveitis / diagnosis
  • Uveitis / epidemiology*