PURPOSE: We describe important characteristics of the chronic arthritides of childhood associated with anterior uveitis. DESIGN: Literature review and commentary based on the investigators' experiences. METHODS: A review of pertinent publications provides a background of current understanding of those forms of childhood arthritis that are of interest to ophthalmologists caring for children. Recommendations regarding screening for asymptomatic anterior uveitis in this patient group are reviewed, and current advances in therapy are noted. A new classification of childhood arthritis is compared with existing classifications. RESULTS: Uveitis complicates several forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (oligoarthritis, rheumatoid factor-negative polyarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and enthesitis-related arthritis). Uveitis is a complication in up to 30% of children with chronic arthritis, particularly in those with oligoarticular disease. CONCLUSIONS: Visual prognosis is guarded for children with chronic arthritis and uveitis. Surveillance and early therapy are important factors for ensuring a good outcome.
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