Pediatric Uveitis

Pediatric Uveitis

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Children with uveitis need prompt treatment to prevent the inflammatory eye disease from causing serious complications and permanent damage. Duke pediatric ophthalmologists and rheumatologists often work together to identify uveitis early, determine if it may signal an autoimmune disease, and provide ongoing monitoring to manage the chronic inflammation and prevent vision loss.

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About Uveitis in Children

Uveitis is a leading cause of preventable blindness that is more common among adults but can affect children as well. Children may not experience symptoms until damage to the eye has already occurred. Untreated uveitis can cause scar tissue that can lead to permanent vision loss.

Team Approach to Your Child's Treatment
Because uveitis can be an associated with an autoimmune disorder (such as juvenile arthritis), your child may be seen by an ophthalmologist and a rheumatologist.

Regular Eye Exams Are Important
Children with juvenile arthritis have regular eye exams so uveitis can be diagnosed at the earliest possible stage. Uveitis requires ongoing monitoring because the disease itself can cause permanent damage to the eye, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and poor vision. Some side effects of treatment can also include cataracts and glaucoma.

When Diagnosed with no Apparent Cause
When uveitis is diagnosed in children and has no apparent cause, a pediatric rheumatologist will determine if an underlying autoimmune disorder is present, such as juvenile arthritis.

We Can Work with Your Child's School
Our dedicated social worker can work with your child’s school vision specialist if your school-age child is coping with vision impairment and needs special accommodations in the classroom.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

Slit-Lamp Exam

This quick, painless test is part of a routine eye exam and is considered the gold standard for diagnosing uveitis. An ophthalmologist shines a light into your child’s eye through a magnifying lens to look for signs of inflammation. 

Blood Tests

If your child has uveitis, blood tests can help confirm (or rule out) an infection or autoimmune disorder. Blood monitoring is also done to ensure your child’s safety while on medications.

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Treatments

Treatments for pediatric uveitis reduce or stop inflammation in the eye, relieve pain, prevent complications, and improve vision. Your child will need regular monitoring during and after treatment to ensure the inflammation remains under control.

Steroids

Steroid eye drops, oral medications, and periodic injections reduce inflammation and are often the first line of defense against uveitis that is not caused by an infection. These are typically prescribed by the ophthalmologist.

Immunosuppressive Medications

May help control inflammation in the eyes, help prevent scarring in the eyes, and preserve vision. 

Biologics

This is a newer class of drugs made from living organisms. Instead of suppressing the entire immune system, they target specific parts of it. Although no biologics are FDA-approved for uveitis in children, Humira is the first biologic approved to treat adult uveitis. Our doctors have experience with various biologics that are often used in treating uveitis. 

Surgery

Surgery is reserved for treating complications of uveitis, such as cataracts or glaucoma, that may lead to vision loss.

Why Choose Duke

At the Forefront of Uveitis Diagnosis and Treatment
Duke adult and pediatric uveitis specialists have been studying uveitis diagnosis and treatment for more than 20 years. A strong partnership between our pediatric rheumatologists and ophthalmologists means your child receives comprehensive care.

Clinical Trials and Research Broaden Our Understanding of Uveitis
Our rheumatologists participate in clinical trials and other research to broaden our understanding of pediatric uveitis and how best to treat it.

Working to Standardize Treatment of Uveitis
Together with the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance, our doctors are helping to establish treatment plans that will standardize the treatment of uveitis. This type of guidance is valuable in parts of the country where pediatric rheumatology and/or ophthalmology is not readily available.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

In addition to being among the best in the country, Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.
Reviewed: 05/23/2018