Aims: To establish the frequency and risk factors for visual loss in a primary referral cohort of hospital patients with uveitis.
Methods: 561 consecutive uveitis patients attending three district hospitals were recruited and the acuity at the end of the study period recorded. A retrospective case-control study of risk factors for visual loss (permanent loss of acuity <6/9) was performed. Risk factors examined included type of uveitis, age at onset of uveitis, race, type of systemic inflammatory disease, length of follow up, and treatment variables.
Results: Visual loss of at least 6/12 in one eye was found in 111 patients (19.9%). Only four patients (0.7%) suffered severe bilateral visual loss (6/36 or less). Visual loss was associated with age at onset >60 years (odds ratio 3.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.2 to 7.0, long follow up 2.0 (1.2 to 3.3) and a history of cataract surgery 3.9 (2.1 to 7.2). It was less likely in patients with acute anterior uveitis 0.2 (0.1 to 0.3).
Conclusion: The frequency of visual loss associated with uveitis in a district hospital cohort is less than that found in referral centres and levels of legal blindness are low. Although acute anterior uveitis has a low frequency of visual loss it contributes significantly to the total burden. The ocular co-morbidity of the elderly may contribute to the increased visual loss of late onset uveitis.
- visual loss
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