January 22, 2008 is when this uveitis journey began. Four years later it is still an unwavering worry. Uveitis is a disease that affects only about 11,500 children in the United States. Even though it is extremely rare, it is the third leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Children with this are at risk for blindness and complications from glaucoma and cataracts. In simple terms, uveitis is inflammation inside the eye. Left untreated it can damage vision rapidly. When Jacob was diagnosed with uveitis four years ago it was a complete shock. I had heard that because he has juvenile arthritis that he would be at risk. The uveitis was diagnosed four years after the diagnosis of juvenile arthritis was made. This been said, it is extremely important for children to be followed very closely, even years after the arthritis diagnosis. Uveitis can pop up very quickly and silently. Jacob had NO SYMPTOMS.
Since the diagnosis of uveitis we have been going to see Dr. Foster who is in Cambridge. If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Foster you can read up on him at www.uveitis.org . This site has a wealth of information. Jacob's eyes have remained clear of inflammation since about June of 2008. His uveitis has been controlled with Humira. Just this week we went for the visit and all continues to be well. Jacob's eyes are free of cells. He has not escaped this disease without damage though. He has small cataracts that formed as a result of the uveitis and steroid drops that were used to treat the inflammation. Jacob fortunately used the drops for a few short months. We are extremely lucky that he was treated aggressively and his vision has been preserved. He has started to notice that glare is a problem for him. He says that when he looks at lights he sees a jagged halo around them. This is caused from the cataracts. The cataracts are mild, in a sense, and do not need to be removed at this point. At this appointment I was curious to see when we could let our guard down considering he has been doing so well. Dr. Foster said that 7 years free of inflammation (which will be in 3 more years!) and we will talk about moving his appointments further apart. So for now we continue every 3-4 months in Cambridge.