Juvenile Arthritis: How It Can Affect The Eyes

Among many parts of the body, like joints, the eyes are one of the organs that juvenile arthritis damage causing uveitis.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Jan 07, 2023 18:00 IST
Juvenile Arthritis: How It Can Affect The Eyes

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The most typical kind of arthritis that affects children is juvenile arthritis, often known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or childhood arthritis. In this condition, joints may suffer irreversible physical harm, and kids may become disabled as a result of this injury, which can make it difficult for them to do daily tasks like dressing or walking. 

What Causes Juvenile Arthritis?

As per the Centres For Disease Control And Prevention, it is still not known what causes childhood arthritis. But in this condition, the immune system may not function properly, which leads to inflammation in the joints and other bodily systems. Among many parts of the body, the eyes are one of the organs that juvenile arthritis damage.

How Juvenile Arthritis Affects The Eyes?

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can cause ocular issues in children. A child who suffers from juvenile arthritis can experience inflammation in the inner region of his eyes, which is the uvea. This region has the iris, ciliary body, and choroid.

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Inflammation in the uvea, a region of the eye, is the most typical eye issue and is referred to as uveitis. It may also be referred to as iritis or iridocyclitis if it just affects a particular area of the uvea.

Eye Complication Due To Uveitis

When the inflammation in the eye is not treated timely, it can result in scarring and visual issues. Severe uveitis can lead to consequences including glaucoma, cataracts, and irreversible vision loss (including blindness).

Uveitis can develop up to a year before, concurrently with, or up to 15 years after the diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, as per Centres For Disease Control And Prevention. Additionally, it can happen even if the disease is not active. How dangerous the uveitis is not related to how severe the child's joint illness is. But children who have less than five joints with arthritis in the first six months of disease are more prone to ocular issues.

Also Read: Risk factors for Juvenile Arthritis

Children who suffer from eye inflammation may not experience much pain, and their eyes may not seem as red as they occur in conjunctivitis. Also, there are chances that children with juvenile arthritis, when they develop eye issues, do have any visible symptoms.

In rare conditions, children may experience blurry vision or light irritation. In other cases, the child's eyes may appear red or hazy. However, because these symptoms often appear very slowly, it may already be too late to prevent irreparable damage to the eyes.

When To See A Doctor?

If your child suffers from eye issues, it is important to visit an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and if your child has arthritis, visit a rheumatologist (a specialist who specialises in treating arthritis). The type of juvenile arthritis your kid has, the length of time your child has had arthritis, and the medications provided to treat it will all affect how frequently your child needs eye tests. To make sure that your child does not suffer from the above-mentioned complications, your rheumatologist and ophthalmologist will work with you in order to identify eye issues early and stop them from causing harm.

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