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Referral patterns of uveitis in a tertiary eye care center.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the referral patterns and diagnosis of uveitis during the past decade in a large tertiary eye center.

DESIGN: The records of 1237 patients with uveitis referred to the Immunology Service of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary from 1982 to 1992 were classified and analyzed. Data regarding sex, race, nationality, referral site, ages at presentation and onset of uveitis, ocular involvement, clinical characteristics, ocular condition, and systemic disease associations were obtained.

RESULTS: The mean age at onset of uveitis was 37.2 years; the male-to-female ratio was 1:1.4. Most patients were white (85.8%), born in the United States (83.1%), and referred from within New England (84.7%). Anterior uveitis was most common (51.6%), followed by posterior uveitis (19.4%), panuveitis (16.0%), and intermediate uveitis (13.0%). Chronic (58.3%), nongranulomatous (77.7%), and noninfectious (83.1%) were the most frequent types of uveitis. The most common entities included idiopathic (34.9%), seronegative spondyloarthropathies (10.4%), sarcoidosis (9.6%), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (5.6%), systemic lupus erythematosus (4.8%), Behçet's disease (2.5%), and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (2.4%).

CONCLUSION: The appearance of new uveitic entities, such as the acute retinal necrosis syndrome, multifocal choroiditis and panuveitis, birdshot retinochoroidopathy, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related uveitis, and the reemergence of the classic infectious causes of uveitis, tuberculosis and syphilis, have changed the way we approach the diagnosis and management of posterior and panuveitis at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

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