The Kobe earthquake and recurrent endogenous uveitis

Jpn J Ophthalmol. Mar-Apr 1997;41(2):111-4. doi: 10.1016/s0021-5155(97)00008-7.


The mechanism of recurrent endogenous uveitis remains uncertain but it is generally believed to be affected by both heredity and environment. On January 17, 1995, the Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) area of Japan experienced a major earthquake which killed more than 6300 people and forced 310,000 to take refuge in emergency shelters. All inhabitants of this area suffered severe stress due to the sudden changes in their living environment. We investigated the recurrence rate of endogenous uveitis before and after the earthquake in 116 patients who had been followed for more than 2 years (since July 17, 1993) at Kobe University Hospital. The postquake rate was significantly higher than the prequake rate (10% vs 3%); women were more often affected than men. Our data suggests that psychological stress due to the sudden changes in living conditions following the earthquake may have triggered the recurrences. It might be important to provide psychological as well as physical care for these patients after a disaster.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Uveitis / epidemiology*
  • Uveitis / etiology