If Your Child Has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, They Need An Eye Exam

Posted on: 27 December 2019

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a serious condition that requires medical care, but you might not know that it calls for eye care, too. If your child isn't seeing an eye doctor for a kids eye exam, that's something that should change. Here's why it's important for your child to see an eye doctor in addition to their general practitioner and rheumatologist:

Autoimmune Disorders

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. This means that the white blood cells in the body attack healthy, normal cells, destroying them and causing damage. Unfortunately, this process is rarely limited to one place in the body, as these cells roam all over the body and can cause damage wherever they go. As a result, your child may develop a secondary condition called uveitis that specifically targets the eyes. Uveitis is a serious condition that requires treatment. Without treatment, blindness is a potential outcome.


The good news is, there are treatment possibilities for uveitis that can prevent the majority of the damage that autoimmune disorders can do.

The first thing you'll do if your child is diagnosed with uveitis is schedule to see the eye doctor on a regular basis for examinations. These are crucial so that the eye doctor can ensure that your child's medication is doing its job. If it isn't, they'll need to make adjustments to the dosage or the type of medication your child is taking to ensure that the immune system stops attacking healthy cells.

The type of medication your eye doctor will prescribe to your child will likely be steroid eye drops. Steroid eye drops are an excellent treatment option for uveitis because steroids significantly diminish the immune system response. In other words, the white blood cells won't do their job, which means they'll also stop attacking healthy cells. Rest assured that these drops are safe. They're given as eye drops to dramatically reduce the amount of steroid exposure, and in doing so, your child won't have any side effects that steroids sometimes carry.

Uveitis, just like juvenile idiopathic arthritis, can be controlled with treatment and care from a specialist. In this case, it's an eye doctor that you need to find. Finding one who specializes in children is best. With their experience with kids, they can make the experience as comfortable as possible for your child. Thankfully, eye examinations and treatment are typically painless, so reassure your child that they're not in any danger.