JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Risk factors for loss of visual acuity among patients with uveitis associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases Study

Anthony C Gregory, John H Kempen, Ebenezer Daniel, R Oktay Kaçmaz, C Stephen Foster, Douglas A Jabs, Grace A Levy-Clarke, Robert B Nussenblatt, James T Rosenbaum, Eric B Suhler, Jennifer E Thorne
Ophthalmology 2013, 120 (1): 186-92
23062650

PURPOSE: To describe the incidence of and risk factors for visual acuity (VA) loss and ocular complications in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)-associated uveitis.

DESIGN: Multicenter retrospective cohort study.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 327 patients (596 affected eyes) with JIA-associated uveitis managed at 5 tertiary uveitis clinics in the United States.

METHODS: Participants were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases (SITE) cohort study. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained for every eye of every patient at every visit via medical record review by trained expert reviewers.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Loss of VA to 20/50 or to 20/200 or worse thresholds and the development of ocular complications.

RESULTS: At presentation, 240 eyes (40.3%) had a VA of ≤20/50, 144 eyes (24.2%) had a VA of ≤20/200, and 359 eyes (60.2%) had at least 1 ocular complication. The incidences of VA loss to the ≤20/50 and ≤20/200 thresholds were 0.18 and 0.09 per eye-year (EY), respectively; the incidence of developing at least 1 new ocular complication over follow-up was 0.15/EY (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13-0.17). However, among eyes with uveitis that had no complications at presentation, the rate of developing at least 1 ocular complication during follow-up was lower (0.04/EY; 95% CI, 0.02-0.06). Posterior synechiae, active uveitis, and prior intraocular surgery were statistically significantly associated with VA to the ≤20/50 and ≤20/200 thresholds both at presentation and during follow-up. Increasing (time-updated) anterior chamber cell grade was associated with increased rates of visual loss in a dose-dependent fashion. Use of immunosuppressive drugs was associated with a reduced risk of visual loss, particularly for the ≤20/50 outcome (hazard ratio, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.21-0.75; P<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Ocular complications and vision loss were common in our cohort. Increasing uveitis activity was associated with increased risk of vision loss, and use of immunosuppressive drugs was associated with reduced risk of vision loss, suggesting that control of inflammation and use of immunosuppression may be critical aspects in improving the outcomes of patients with JIA-related uveitis.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

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