Psoriasis severity linked to increased risk of uveitis

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In a large study in Taiwan, investigators looked at the pattern of incidence of uveitis (eye inflammation) in people with psoriasis. They found that as the severity of psoriasis increased patients had an increasing risk of uveitis compared to people without psoriasis.

 

Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory condition of the skin. While its cause is still unclear, it is thought to be an autoimmune diseasewhere they body’s own defense system reacts abnormally to healthy cells. Although psoriasis mainly affects the skin and nails, in some cases sufferers may develop several other associated inflammatory conditions including arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can lead to joint destruction and disability. (For more information on psoriasis click here…)

 

Uveitis is an inflammation of part of the eye called the uveal tract – this includes the iris, ciliary body and choroid tissue.Symptoms include a painful red eye, light sensitivity and blurred vision. One or both eyes may be affected. Uveitis can have several different causes, but it has alsobeen linked topsoriasis– although the relationship is not well defined. In order examinethis further, researchers in Taiwan reviewed a large group of patients with psoriasis and looked at the pattern of incidence of uveitis in these patients compared to people without psoriasis. The findings were recently reported in JAMA Ophthalmology.

 

The National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan contains comprehensive health data on the Taiwanese population and is a useful resource for studying the pattern of diseases. The researchers reviewed all those in the database who had psoriasis between 2000-2011. They divided these patients into four subgroups according to the severity of their psoriasis and whether or not they had associated psoriatic arthritis. The four groups were: mild psoriasis without arthritis, severe psoriasis without arthritis, mild psoriasis with arthritis, severe psoriasis with arthritis. Over 147,000 psoriasis patients were included and compared with the same number of people without psoriasis (control group).The researchers looked at the occurrence of uveitis in all of these subjects and compared the relative risk between the psoriasis groups and controls.

 

Patients with severe psoriasis and arthritis had the greatest risk of developing uveitis, followed by those with severe psoriasis but no arthritis, and mild psoriasis with arthritis. There was no significant increase in the risk of uveitis in the mild psoriasis with no arthritis group compared to the control group.

 

The researchers concluded that the incidence of uveitis differs according to the severity of psoriasis. There greatest risk is in patients with severe psoriasis andarthritis. They suggest that doctors should be aware of these varying risk levels and should educate psoriasis patients about the signs and symptoms of uveitis so that they can seek medical attention if necessary.

 

Written By: Julie McShane, Medical Writer

 

Reference

Chi CC, Tung TH, Wang J, et al. Risk of uveitis among people with psoriasis. A Nationwide cohort study. JAMA Ophthalmology. Published online April 13, 2017.

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