Objectives: As JIA-associated uveitis (JIAU) is asymptomatic in the majority of patients, ophthalmologic screening examinations are recommended, depending on the risk constellation for uveitis development. This study analyses disease characteristics in JIAU depending on adherence with the screening intervals.
Methods: 953 patients were included in the ICON registry. In patients without uveitis, ophthalmologic screening was recommended in accordance with the standards currently applied in Germany. Dates and results of the screening examinations were noted for each patient.
Results: Until the 3-year-follow up, uveitis developed in 133 of 953 JIA patients. In 56 of them, uveitis was present before study inclusion, and those were excluded from the prospective analysis. For the remaining 897 JIA patients, screening results were available in 557, 46 of whom developed uveitis. In those patients, adherence with the suggested screening intervals until uveitis onset was assessed, and patients were classified accordingly: screenings as recommended (Sc+ group, n=356) vs. infrequent screening (Sc- group, n=201). Non-adherence with the screening schedule significantly correlated with younger age at study inclusion and JIA diagnosis, shorter JIA disease duration, JIA oligoarthritis subtype and positive antinuclear antibody status. The Sc+ group had a better visual acuity (VA) at initial uveitis diagnosis, however, at the 3-year-follow up, VA and uveitis complication rates did not differ significantly.
Conclusions: Especially high-risk patients often do not adhere to the initial frequently recommended screening intervals, resulting in a reduced visual acuity at initial uveitis diagnosis. A recommendation for changing the current screening intervals cannot be deduced from our data.