Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a long-term, chronic disease. As the most common form of arthritis in children, it affects nearly 300,000 children under age 18 in the U.S. Some children with JA have eye problems called uveitis. The disease itself or medications taken for the disease cause uveitis. Without treatment, uveitis can result in irreversible eye damage. Most children with JA are asymptomatic, and only an ophthalmologist can make a positive diagnosis.
At the office of Brook Plaza Ophthalmology, your eye health is our top priority. Whether you need a routine exam, a particular procedure, a diagnosis or in-depth treatment, you’ll find our staff to be highly skilled and personable. We’ll help you make informed decisions about the care that’s best for you.
Inflammation of specific parts of the uvea—the middle layer of the eye—is the most common problem. The inflammation, called uveitis, can begin up to 12 months before a child is diagnosed with JA, or simultaneously or years later.
Glaucoma, cataracts or permanent sight damage can also be blamed on JA.
To identify eye problems early on and stop them from doing harm, your child’s rheumatologist will have your child frequently see an ophthalmologist. At the initial visit, the ophthalmologist dilates your child’s pupils and then uses a microscope to shine a thin beam of light to get a clear look inside her (or his) eyes. The doctor will also check your daughter’s peripheral vision.
The rheumatologist and ophthalmologist will work with you on this. Your daughter may need prescription eye drops that keep the pupils open and help ward off scars. Prescribed steroid eye drops might be called for to cut down on swelling and lessen irritation. If eye drops don’t do enough to lower inflammation, she might need anti-inflammatory pills.
The office of Brook Plaza Ophthalmology is focused on maintaining optimal eye health for patients of all ages. We are committed to excellence by providing compassionate care using our state-of-the-art technology and high-quality products. Please call us today to arrange an appointment.