If your child is diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), they need to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
How is uveitis from JIA diagnosed?
Here’s what will happen during the exam:
Blood will be tested for antinuclear antibody (ANA). If the test is positive, the child has a greater risk for getting uveitis. Other blood tests may be taken as well.
Your ophthalmologist will use an instrument called a slit lamp to look at your child’s eye. The slit lamp gives the doctor a magnified, detailed view of the eye. He or she can see if there is any damage to the eye from uveitis.
Based on the results, your ophthalmologist will tell you how often your child needs to come back for an exam.
Regular eye exams can save your child’s vision
Uveitis can cause many problems in the eye. If left untreated, these problems can lead to vision loss. The good news is that vision loss from uveitis can be prevented. Early diagnosis and treatment of uveitis can save your child’s vision.
If your child is diagnosed with JIA, they should see an ophthalmologist right away. They will look for signs of uveitis. After the first exam, your ophthalmologist will tell you when to return for another exam.
How is uveitis from JIA treated?
Uveitis is often treated using a team approach. An ophthalmologist will work with your child’s rheumatologist (special doctor that treats autoimmune diseases like arthritis and uveitis) to find the best treatment for him or her.
Treatment can include:
Steroids are the most common way to treat uveitis. They can be taken orally (pills), in eyedrop form, or by injection.
For 7 out of 10 patients, steroids reduce inflammation of the eye. Other patients may need to take immunosuppressive drugs. These are drugs that lower the response of your body’s immune system. This can help control inflammation of the eye and of the joints.