To compare the symptoms, signs, and results of objective tests for keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) in patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and controls.
Sixty-four patients with JRA and 64 age- and sex-matched controls were compared in terms of symptoms, signs, and results of objective tests for KCS. Relation between tear film breakup time (TBUT), Schirmer test results, and JRA-related variables such as age of onset, duration, and type of JRA; presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANAs); and history of uveitis were evaluated. Analysis of variance, multivariate regression analysis, Kruskall-Wallis, Student t tests, and χ2 tests were used for statistical analysis.
Twelve and a half percent of patients with JRA complained of dry eye symptoms compared with 1.5% of the controls (P = 0.031). Dry eye signs were detected in 10.9% of patients with JRA compared with 1.5% of controls (P = 0.038). TBUT and Schirmer test results were lower in the JRA group than in controls (P = 0.032 and P = 0.029, respectively). Seven patients (10.9%) had definite and 1 (1.5%) had probable diagnosis of KCS in the JRA group compared with no children in the control group (P = 0.034). Within the JRA group, Schirmer test and TBUT results were significantly lower in male patients and ones with longer duration of disease.
The prevalence of symptoms, signs, and definite diagnosis of KCS is higher and basal tear secretion and tear film stability are lower in children with JRA than in controls. Among children with JRA, male sex and longer duration of disease are independent risk factors for having decreased basal tear secretion and tear film stability.