Objective: To determine the prevalence and outcome of chronic uveitis in patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 760 patients with JRA followed in 4 pediatric rheumatology centers. Patients with chronic uveitis were identified and their medical and ophthalmologic records were reviewed.
Results: Seventy-four patients with uveitis were identified. The prevalence of uveitis was 9.3%. The mean interval from the onset of JRA to the onset of uveitis was 21 months, and 90% of the patients who developed uveitis did so within the first 4 years of their disease. Visual complications (synechiae, band keratopathy, cataract, or glaucoma) developed in 31% of the patients with uveitis. Complications were more common in patients who presented with uveitis early in the course of their JRA. Complications were also more common in antinuclear antibody (ANA) negative than in ANA positive patients. Visual loss to 20/50 or worse occurred in only 11% of patients with uveitis, and no patient became blind.
Conclusion: In a very large cohort of patients with JRA, uveitis was uncommon and poor visual outcome was rare. Visual complications did not necessarily result in a poor outcome.