March 2012
Volume 53, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   March 2012
Ethnic Disparities in Uveitis in the Southeastern United States
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Russell W. Read
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Kinley Beck
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Carrie Huisingh
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Gerald McGwin, Jr.
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Russell W. Read, None; Kinley Beck, None; Carrie Huisingh, None; Gerald McGwin, Jr., None
  • Footnotes
    Support  EyeSight Foundation of Alabama; Research to Prevent Blindness
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 2012, Vol.53, 1249. doi:
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      Russell W. Read, Kinley Beck, Carrie Huisingh, Gerald McGwin, Jr.; Ethnic Disparities in Uveitis in the Southeastern United States. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1249.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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To determine the role of ethnicity in the epidemiology of uveitis patients in the Southeastern United States.


The current study was a retrospective chart review of all patients seen between 2007 and 2010 (inclusive) at a single tertiary uveitis center in Birmingham, Alabama. Charts were reviewed for demographics, diagnosis, work up, treatment, clinical parameters, and development of complications at each visit. Characteristics were compared between racial subgroups using a t-test and chi-square test for continuous and categorical variables, respectively.


Seven hundred eighty two (782) patients were identified as having uveitis from the chart review. Of these, 324 (41%) were African-Americans and 434 (56%) were Caucasians, with 24 (3%) categorized as "other." A higher proportion of African Americans were female compared to Caucasians (76% vs. 60%, p<0.0001). In terms of anatomical disease distribution, the proportion of posterior cases was 3-fold higher among Caucasians than African Americans (16% vs. 5%, p<0.0001) and the proportion of panuveitic cases was almost 3-fold higher among African Americans than Caucasians (20% vs. 7%, p<0.0001). The associated conditions more prevalent among Caucasians than African American include HLA-B27 (14% vs. 6%, p=0.0003), herpetic disease (6% vs. 1%, p=0.0005) and birdshot (4% vs. 0.3%, p=0.0012). However, sarcoid (11% vs. 3%, p<0.0001), persistent post-operative inflammation (6% vs. 3%, p=0.03), Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (2% vs. 0.5%, p=0.03) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (2% vs. 0.5%, p=0.04) were more prevalent among African Americans.


The epidemiology of uveitis varies between ethnic groups. Among African Americans with uveitis, females are more likely to be affected than are females of Caucasian ethnicity, though Caucasian females are still more likely than Caucasian males to have uveitis. African Americans are more likely to have panuveitis while Caucasians are more likely to have posterior uveitis. Etiologies of disease vary along mostly expected patterns, with HLA-B27 disease and birdshot more common in Caucasians and sarcoid and SLE more common in African Americans. Interestingly, herpetic disease (simplex or zoster) was significantly more prevalent in Caucasians than African Americans.

Keywords: uveitis-clinical/animal model • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: prevalence/incidence • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: outcomes/complications 

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