Clinical correlates, outcomes, and predictors of inflammatory ocular disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis in the biologic era

Cristian Caimmi, Cynthia S. Crowson, Wendy M. Smith, Eric L. Matteson, Ashima Makol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective. Inflammatory ocular disease (IOD) is a rare but severe extraarticular manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis (ExRA) with high mortality. The aim of our study was to examine clinical characteristics of IOD in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and their effect on disease severity and outcomes in recent years. Methods. A retrospective cohort of RA patients with IOD evaluated between 1996 and 2013 was assembled and compared to RA comparators without IOD and matched for age, sex, and disease duration. Results. We identified 92 patients (69% female; mean age 62 yrs) with IOD: 33 scleritis, 23 episcleritis, 21 peripheral ulcerative keratitis (PUK), 14 uveitis, and 1 with orbital inflammation. The majority of patients with scleritis, episcleritis, and PUK was seropositive versus uveitis (> 80% vs 62%, p = 0.048). PUK and scleritis were more symptomatic compared to episcleritis and uveitis, and often required systemic therapy. Time to esolution was longer in scleritis than episcleritis (p = 0.01). PUK, scleritis, and uveitis had severe ocular sequelae. Prevalence of severe ExRA (18% vs 4%, p = 0.004) and dry eye syndrome (42% vs 26%, p = 0.024) was higher among patients with IOD than comparators. The incidence of new ExRA over 5-year followup was also higher among cases (29% vs 11%, p = 0.022). Ten-year survival was similar among RA patients with and without IOD (66% vs 64%, p = 0.56), with no differences noted among IOD subtypes. Conclusion. This large single-center study highlights the variable presentation and outcomes of IOD in RA. Although ocular complications are associated with significant morbidity, it is reassuring that survival among those with IOD is now similar to those without ocular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-603
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Episcleritis
  • Eye Inflammation
  • Peripheral Ulcerative Keratitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Scleritis
  • Uveitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical correlates, outcomes, and predictors of inflammatory ocular disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis in the biologic era'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this