OBJECTIVE: Uveitis is the most common extraarticular manifestation of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and is associated with considerable morbidity. The aim of this study was to examine the risk factors associated with uveitis in JIA.
METHODS: We conducted a chart review of 1,047 patients with JIA from a single tertiary care pediatric rheumatology center for factors associated with the development of uveitis. Special emphasis was put on the following known risk factors: oligoarthritis, antinuclear antibody (ANA) status, sex, and age at the time of onset of JIA.
RESULTS: The risk of uveitis developing was age dependent in girls but not in boys. Among girls, the risk was maximal (47%) in those who were ANA positive and were ages 1-2 years at the time of the onset of JIA; this risk decreased to <10% in those in whom the age at onset was >7 years. Only girls had an age-dependent and ANA-associated increased risk of uveitis. The time interval from the diagnosis of JIA to the diagnosis of uveitis was statistically significantly longer in patients in whom the onset of JIA occurred at a younger age (P = 0.04). This effect was even more pronounced in ANA-positive patients (P = 0.004). The JIA subtype did not influence a patient's risk of the development of uveitis.
CONCLUSION: An age-associated risk of uveitis was observed only in girls who were younger than 7 years of age at the time of the onset of JIA. The duration of time between the diagnosis of JIA and the onset of uveitis was longer in patients in whom JIA was diagnosed at a younger age, especially in those who were ANA positive. We suggest that our findings have implications for uveitis screening in patients with JIA.