[Article in Hebrew]
To study the type, occurrence and nature of ocular involvement amongst patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to identify demographic, clinical and/or laboratory variables associated with eye involvement in RA. RESEARCH TYPE: Cross sectional research, retrospective
The research was conducted among 61 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The subjects were recruited for the research during their periodic visits to the Soroka Hospital Rheumatology Clinic. Comprehensive rheumatologic tests were administered and general health was examined with a prepared questionnaire. Additionally, the subjects' personal files were examined with data collected from general serum rheumatologic tests and details regarding medications administered. The patients were given a comprehensive eye examination, including a visual acuity examination, test for anterior and posterior fragments, a slit lamp examination after pupil dilation, for epithelial cell filaments, tests for dry eye symptoms, including a Schirmer's test, a tear breakup time test, and a corneal examination for epithelial cells and the existence of superficial punctate keratopathy. The subjects were also questioned regarding their dry eye syndrome and a specular microscopy test was performed. The assembled data was processed and analyzed with the aim of finding correlations between the subjective and objective sensations of dry eye symptoms and the activity of rheumatoid arthritis disease, blood tests, medications taken, and the patient's general state of health.
The majority of the research subjects (90.2%) were women. Their average age was 51.9 +/- 13.21 years; 31.1% of the subjects complained of eye dryness and, during the eye examination, 85% were found to be suffering from dry eye. The study found a correlation between the objective indicators of keratitis sicca and the following parameters: laboratory values for SGOT (p < 0.03), ESR (p < 0.05), Cr (p < 0.05), TG (p < 0.03), LDL (p < 0.02), Hb (p < 0.01), ALP (p < 0.01), in addition to prednisone medication (p < 0.03, df = 2, x2 = 7.02) and methotrexate (p < 0.03, df = 2, x2 = 8.88). No correlation was found with the following parameters: age, disease duration, smoking, disease severity, other background diseases, and additional laboratory findings including RF and ANA measurements, and consuming other anti-rheumatoid arthritis medications. Similarly, no relation was found with the patients' various subjective syndromes. The average results of the specular microscopy test were 2116.15 +/- 416.59 for the right eye and 2125.67 +/- 446.14 for the left eye.
The significance of the specular microscopy test results is that corneal damage found in rheumatoid arthritis patients occurs only to the external layer and does not affect the endothelial layer. The study indicates that keratitis sicca is prevalent among rheumatoid arthritis patients and must be taken into account regardless of the degree that the disease has progressed, because the severity of the dryness is not dependent on disease progression. Additionally, a discrepancy exists between the patients' subjective sensation of their eye condition and the objective findings of the study.
Harefuah. 2011 Sep;150(9):713-8, 751.
Markovitz E, Perry ZH, Tsumi E, Abu-Shakra M.
Department of Ophthalmology, Shaare-Zedek Medical Center, Ben-Gurion.