Rheumatological conditions and their relationship with other ocular pathologies

Uveitis is symptomatic or asymptomatic and occurs in both adults and children.

Dr. Santos is forceful in clarifying that, if uveitis is not treated, it can cause permanent vision loss in the patient.

Much has been said about the relationship that some rheumatological diseases have with other inflammatory conditions, as well as with uveitis, since both the joints and the eyes have a lot of connective tissue that can be affected by these pathologies. This was explained by Dr. Carmen Santos, ophthalmologist and specialist in inflammations and infections eyepieces.

In addition to this, the expert assures that on some occasions uveitis may be the first sign of a rheumatic process in the organism which is translated as the swelling of the anterior part of the uvea, and in a few cases the patient can be diagnosed with uveitis before being diagnosed with arthritis.

Some types of arthritis, such as juvenile arthritis that occurs frequently in young girls, does not cause symptoms of uveitis, but the condition does, that is, there is a knowledge of rheumatoid disease, but not how it affects the vision of the little ones, which, unfortunately, if not treated in time and in the right way, can cause them to lose vision progressively even without them realizing it.

“Children who are diagnosed with arthritis can have asymptomatic uveitis and it presents as a chronic condition; they must be checked every 3 months depending on the arthritis they have to monitor the development of uveitis”, says the expert.

On the contrary, when there is a clinical picture, patients usually approach the professional’s office because they present some problems such as photophobia, red eyes or even loss of vision, recognized as the first symptoms of this inflammatory ocular condition. Usually without a diagnosis of arthritis, eye specialists diagnose uveitis and give remission with the rheumatology system.

Regarding the incidence of this condition, the specialist assures that this condition occurs more frequently in adults than in children, without this exempting children from suffering from it: “uveitis is seen a lot in adult arthritis patients caused by a cellular marker called HLAB27 and in that case they are acute uveitis symptomatic “.

Risk factors and complications

Conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, HIV, inflammatory bowel diseases, and the presence of herpes in the body predispose patients to uveitis.

In addition, Dr. Santos is forceful in clarifying that, if uveitis is not treated, it can cause permanent vision loss in the patient: “The uvea layer of the eye is one of those that produces the fluid that maintains the eye when this inflammation occurs, the decrease in fluid production decreases and ends up atrophying the eye.”

“When they start acute uveitis we use steroids to treat them, but steroids are not a long-term treatment term for side effects that it produces. And in the case of chronic uveitis, the use of cortisone is not a reasonable alternative because it can cause other systemic conditions such as osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes, as well as glaucoma and cataracts. “

However, the treatment for uveitis consists, firstly, in the use of medications for rheumatological conditions (arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus), and on some occasions it is necessary to reinforce biological agents, depending on the organism of each patient. .

“It is very important that they go to their medical appointments to keep the inflammation controlled, follow the doctor’s instructions and thus we can reach a happy ending without complications while the uveitis can be controlled,” he concluded.

See the full interview:


The uvea: the place where uveitis occurs

The signs, symptoms, and characteristics of uveitis may include:

* Redness of the eyes

* Eye pain

* Sensitivity to light

*Blurry vision

* Dark spots floating in the field of view (floaters)

* Low vision

Symptoms can come on suddenly or get worse quickly, although in some cases they come on gradually. They can affect one eye or both. Sometimes there are no symptoms, and signs of uveitis are seen on a routine eye exam.

Risk factor’s

People with modifications in certain genes may be more likely to develop uveitis. Cigarette smoking has been associated with uveitis that is more difficult to control.


If left untreated, uveitis can cause complications, including:

* Swelling of the retina (macular edema)

* Scars on the retina



* Damage to the optic nerve

*Retinal detachment

* Permanent loss of vision

Source consulted here.

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