What is uveitis?
Uveitis is inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. This middle layer of the eye is called “uvea” and includes:
- The iris (colored part of the eye)
- Ciliary body (controls the shape of the lens, produces the fluid that fills the eye)
- Choroid (lines the eye between the white part of the eye and the retina)
The uvea is important because it carries many blood vessels to the eye. For this reason, inflammation of the uvea (uveitis) can damage many structures of the eye and potentially cause blindness. Uveitis can be caused by an infection, injury, or autoimmune disease, like juvenile arthritis. In about half of all the cases, the cause of uveitis is unknown.
Children may not experience any symptoms until permanent damage has already occurred. This is especially true in children with juvenile arthritis. The key is to detect uveitis and start treatment early to prevent complications that can lead to poor vision.
Two specialty coordinated care clinics to address uveitis
Pediatric Uveitis Clinic
Since 2015, Alan Palestine, MD, a renowned uveitis specialist, and pediatric ophthalmologist Jennifer Jung, MD, have been treating patients with pediatric uveitis together. This collaborative approach combines the care of two specialists in a single visit to make it easier and more efficient for the family and ensures that your child receives optimal uveitis care as well as comprehensive pediatric eye care.
Combined Ophthalmology-Rheumatology Clinic
Experts from rheumatology and ophthalmology collaborate together and meet with your family on the same visit. There are multiple benefits to coordinating care in a combined clinic like this:
- Allows treatment plans to be determined and adjusted quickly
- Provides accurate information to the patients and family without delay
- Decreases the number of trips for families to the hospital
- Potential for improved outcomes for vision and rheumatologic problems
Our approach to treatment at the Pediatric Uveitis Clinic
Our first goal at the Pediatric Uveitis Clinic is to determine the cause of your child’s uveitis with a comprehensive evaluation. The treatment plan that your child’s team outlines will depend on the cause, location and severity of the uveitis. Each treatment plan is customized to meet your child’s individual needs. We work to monitor in close coordination with rheumatology and ophthalmology departments to monitor your child’s progress through treatment as many patients may require systemic medications in addition to local and topical treatment.
Treatment for uveitis also means treating the inflammation that affects other parts of the eye. This can include:
- Scleritis (inflammation of the white part of the eye)
- Dacryoadenitis (inflammation of the lacrimal gland that produces tears)
- Orbital inflammation (inflammation in the eye socket, eye muscles)
Uveitis can have different names depending on the location of the inflammation:
- Iritis (inflammation in the front)
- Intermediate uveitis (pars planitis)
- Posterior uveitis
- Panuveitis (inflammation throughout the eye)
Why choose us for pediatric uveitis care
- Multidisciplinary care team
- We are the only combined clinic in Colorado for pediatric uveitis and one of a handful offered in the United States.
- Our system provides streamlined care for our patients. Delay in communication between doctors or family is a common problem for patients who have uveitis. Through combined clinics, we offer thoughtful, unified medical decisions for patients and their families. We can also make adjustments to medication without delay, leading to improved outcomes for your child.
- Access to state-of-the-art facility and experts in the field
- We have a wide range of special instruments that are needed to accurately diagnose uveitis and its complications.
- Fluorescein angiography is a test performed to detect abnormalities in blood flow in the eye. While most places only offer intravenous administration of the dye to detect blood flow (requiring a needle stick), we offer an oral alternative so younger patients can drink an orange-flavored dye for the test.
- Our providers are experienced in managing the most complicated forms of uveitis and complications and we offer both medical and surgical treatments for our patients.
- Convenience for family
- Your child can see both the rheumatologist and ophthalmologist during the same visit, which allows for less time off school and work.
Who we treat at the Pediatric Uveitis Clinic and how to contact us
We treat patients with uveitis from infancy through young adulthood. For more information about our clinic, please call us at 720-777-2020. We offer these combined clinics at the Anschutz Medical Campus location.