The purpose of this study is to gain information about the course of uveitis (a type of eye
inflammation) during pregnancy and the postpartum period (six months after delivery). Some
reports have indicated the condition may improve or disappear without treatment during
pregnancy and recur postpartum, requiring treatment. No systematic studies have been done,
however, to examine a link between pregnancy and disease suppression.
All medicines for uveitis have side effects-particularly for pregnant women, their unborn
babies, and breast-feeding mothers. The information gained may help guide treatment
decisions for these patients in the future.
Women who are between 2 and 20 weeks pregnant and have had uveitis within 2 years of
becoming pregnant will be followed monthly with an eye examination and blood tests until six
months after giving birth. The eye examination will include dilation of the pupils to look
at the back of the eye. Photos of the eye will be taken to record changes that occur due to
uveitis. The blood tests will assess immune function and try to determine whether levels of
hormones and cytokines are related to uveitis disease activity. Patients who develop an
inflammation and significant vision loss may require treatment, possibly with eye drops or
injections near the eye. Treatment will be decided in consultation with the patient's
Pregnancy is thought to be associated with the remediation of some disease and exacerbation
of other conditions. Anecdotal case reports suggest that uveitis may remit or improve
during pregnancy and recur in the postpartum period. This observation is supported by
findings in an experimental autoimmune uveitis model in mice. We propose to study the
natural history of ocular inflammation in a series of pregnant women who have had ocular
inflammation (uveitis) in the two year period prior to becoming pregnant. Women will be
enrolled between 2 and 20 completed weeks of gestation at which time they will receive a
complete ophthalmologic examination and will have blood drawn for cytokine and hormone
evaluation. These procedures will be repeated at monthly intervals until 6 months
postpartum. Treatment of uveitis will ensue as medically indicated and in consultation with
the woman's obstetric care provider. The goal of this investigation is to determine whether
cytokine levels are correlated with disease expression. Such information may be useful to
inform decisions about how to best manage pregnant and postpartum uveitis patients in the
Females with a history of unilateral or bilateral immune-mediated, non-infectious
inflammatory ocular disease that required topical and/or systemic immunosuppresive
medications at least once in the past two years or who are currently under treatment for
unilateral or bilateral non-infectious ocular inflammation and having diagnosed uveitis,
scleritis, or autoimmune corneal disorders in the past two years.
First and second trimester pregnancy.
Informed consent from the patient.
No pregnancy complications which require medical treatment and special obstetric care.
No hematolgical disorder that would preclude blood draws for investigational purposes.
No current ocular or systemic infection.
No current malignancy.
No current endocrine disorders.