Children with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) are at risk of developing an eye-inflammation that might harm their vision. Monitoring is necessary because the inflammation is not externally visible and a child might not be aware of vision changes until considerable damage has been done.

Regular slit-lamp eye examinations allow an ophthalmologist to look inside the eye. These exams are used to find and treat eye inflammations.

The inflammation, which primarily affects the uveal tract, is called uveitis (u-v-EYE-tis). The uveal tract includes the iris and ciliary body. Other terms used to describe this condition are iritis (inflammation of the iris) or iridocyclitis (inflammation of the iris and ciliary body).

If inflammation is found, the ophthalmologist will establish a program of treatment and frequent monitoring.

A pauciarticular or polyarticular-onset JRA patient’s risk of inflammation depends on a variety of factors:

High Risk

ANA test is positive and child is younger than age 7 at onset of disease.

Recommendation: Slit-lamp eye examination every three months for four years, then every six months for three years, then every 12 months.

Middle Risk

ANA test is negative and child is younger than age 7 at onset of disease, or ANA test is positive and child is age 7 or older at onset of disease. 

Recommendation: Slit-lamp eye examination every six months for four years, then every 12 months.

Low Risk

ANA test is negative and child is age 7 or older at onset of disease, or patient has systemic-onset JRA.

Recommendation: Slit-lamp eye examination every 12 months.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.