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Keywords:

  • Central Australian;
  • epidemiology;
  • Ocular Health Study;
  • uveitis

Abstract

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.