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Uveitis in children and adolescents

D BenEzra, E Cohen, G Maftzir
British Journal of Ophthalmology 2005, 89 (4): 444-8

AIMS: To study the relative occurrence of uveitis (intraocular inflammation) and its causes in children and adolescents.

METHODS: Patients with uveitis examined and followed during a period of 10 years were categorised by age and sex. All underwent ocular examination and an individually tailored battery of laboratory tests. The intraocular manifestations were classified according to the anatomical location of the inflammation and their most probable cause. The final diagnosis was based on typical clinical ocular and extraocular symptoms and signs and on the results of specific laboratory investigations.

RESULTS: Out of 821 patients, 276 (33.1%) were 18 years of age or younger with a male to female ratio of 1 to 1. In these 276 children and adolescents, 70.3% had bilateral ocular involvement. Intermediate uveitis was the most frequent anatomical diagnosis. In many cases, symptoms were mild despite the prominent signs and marked decrease of vision. The underlying cause for the uveitis was evaluated as non-infectious in 184 cases (66.7%) and infectious in 92 cases (33.3%). A potential aetiology and/or a definite clinical diagnosis were established in 74.6% of the cases and only 25.4% of the 276 patients were classified as idiopathic. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) was the most common systemic disease association diagnosed in 14.9% of these children. Parasite infestation was the most common infectious association.

CONCLUSIONS: Uveitis in children and adolescents is not as low as previously reported. Parasite infestation on the one hand and JIA on the other hand are the most common aetiologies associated with the uveitis in these young patients.

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