Prevalence of uveitis in indigenous populations presenting to remote clinics of central Australia: The Central Australian Ocular Health Study


  • Conflict/competing interest: No stated conflict of interest.

  • Funding sources: Partial equipment grants for the study were received from the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (B & L Lowe Grant) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (Centre for Clinical Research Excellence).

Dr John Landers, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Drive, Bedford Park, Adelaide, SA 5042, Australia. Email:


Background:  To report the prevalence of current and previous uveitis within the indigenous population living within Central Australia.

Design:  Population-based cross-sectional study in Central Australia.

Participants:  One thousand eight hundred and eighty-four subjects who identified themselves as indigenous Australians, presenting to the remote clinics during the 36-month period between July 2005 and June 2008.

Methods:  Clinical assessments for active or previous uveitis were performed. Data were collected using a standardized form.

Main Outcome Measures:  Prevalence of various types of uveitis.

Results:  Four of 1881 subjects had evidence of previous or current anterior uveitis, giving a prevalence for anterior uveitis of 0.21% (95% confidence interval, 0.01–0.42%). Eleven of 1854 patients had signs of previous posterior uveitis, giving a prevalence for posterior uveitis of 0.59% (95% confidence inteval 0.24–0.94%). Nine of the 11 patients with posterior uveitis cases (82%) had presumed toxoplasma retinochoroiditis. There were no cases of intermediate uveitis or panuveitis observed in this study. There were no observed cases consistent with well-recognized clinical uveitic syndromes, such as Behçet's disease or Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada syndrome.

Conclusions:  A distinct pattern of uveitis appears to be present among indigenous population of remote Central Australia. Posterior uveitis was commoner than anterior uveitis with a predominance of toxoplasma retinochoroiditis. Environmental factors appeared to be more important in this genetically distinct population, with infective causes and ocular trauma being the most common aetiologies of uveitis.