According to new research, children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are more likely to experience uveitis flares as their arthritis progresses. Medscape notes that researchers wanted to understand how and why JIA prompted these flare-ups. While researchers previously understood how and why JIA might prompt the development of this eye condition, it was unclear how the condition specifically linked to increased activity. Now, writes Dr. Emily J. Liebling, MD, in the study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, it is clear that JIA and uveitis “run parallel courses.”
Within the study, researchers sought to understand the relationship between JIA and uveitis flares. Because there are multiple types of uveitis, and some might be more symptomatic than others, it can be difficult to understand the relationship outside of regular screening. As a result, doctors recommend that pediatric patients with JIA should be screened for eye issues at least every 12 weeks.
First, researchers analyzed 6.5 years worth of medical records. These centered around pediatric patients with JIA and uveitis. In total, researchers analyzed data sourced from 98 pediatric patients. Over 80% of patients were female. 69% were antinuclear antibody positive, and 60% had oligoarthritis. In both cases, these factors are linked to an increased risk of eye inflammation.
Ultimately, researchers determined that patients with certain subtypes of JIA are more likely to not only experience disease progression, but experience additional uveitis flares. DMARDs and other treatments, however, lowered that risk.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
The aptly named juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is arthritis, of an unknown origin, that affects pediatric patients. There are various subtypes of JIA, including undifferentiated, systemic, psoriatic, polyarticular, oligoarticular, and enthesitis-related. Generally, JIA is considered an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly attacks its joints. Many times, symptoms are most noticeable after sleeping. However, patients may experience periods of remission before periods of symptoms. These include:
- Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Limited range of motion in the hands, feet, and knees
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Skin rashes
- Eye inflammation (iritis, uveitis)
- Poor growth
Learn about JIA.
Our eye has many layers. Uveitis refers to inflammation that occurs in the urea, the middle layer of the eye. This condition can be caused by eye injury, infection, toxins, or autoimmune or inflammatory disorders. Generally, uveitis affects patients between ages 20 and 60. There are multiple forms including iritis, cyclitis, choroiditis, and pan-uveitis. Symptoms often occur and then worsen quickly. These symptoms include:
- Light sensitivity
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain and redness
- Vision loss
Learn about uveitis.