Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe clinical signs and complications of Fuchs uveitis syndrome (FUS) with onset in childhood.
Methods: Ophthalmologic findings and complications in patients with FUS becoming manifest before the age of 16 years were analyzed in a retrospective study at a tertiary referral uveitis center. Inclusion criteria were the presence of pathognomonic FUS findings at any time point and exclusion of any systemic immune-mediated or infectious disease.
Results: A total of 23 patients (male = 16, female = 7) with juvenile FUS (unilateral n = 20, bilateral n = 3 patients) were included in the study. Mean ages at uveitis and FUS diagnosis were 12.0 ± 4.2 and 22.7 ± 10.7 years, respectively. In six patients, inflammation was noted at age ≤ 7 years. The following inflammatory signs were observed in a total of 26 eyes: ≤ 1+ anterior chamber cell grade (n = 26), vitreous cells (n = 24), fine keratic precipitates (KPs; n = 23), stellate KPs (n = 11), mutton-fat KPs (n = 23), diffuse (n = 24) or inferior (n = 8) distribution of KPs, Koeppe nodules (n = 10), and iris heterochromia (n = 14). A representative subgroup of patients (n = 5) is shown who presented with non-specific clinical signs in the beginning and in whom typical FUS signs became manifest only at a later stage. Secondary complications such as cataract (n = 19), ocular hypertension (n = 3), or glaucomatous disc damage (n = 2) were found after a mean uveitis duration of 11.6, 19.5, and 20.3 years, respectively.
Conclusion: FUS may begin in early childhood, and the characteristic findings may not be present at onset of disease. The diagnosis is often delayed for years, occasionally with the consequence of overtreatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.