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Original Investigation
November 2016

Prevalence of Noninfectious Uveitis in the United StatesA Claims-Based Analysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology, Oregon Health & Science University/Casey Eye Institute, Portland
  • 4Department of Ophthalmology, Portland VA Health Care System, Portland, Oregon
  • 5AbbVie Inc, North Chicago, Illinois
  • 6Analysis Group Inc, New York, New York
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(11):1237-1245. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.3229
Key Points

Question  What is the prevalence of noninfectious uveitis among adults and children stratified by age, sex, and location of inflammation?

Findings  This study used a large US administrative insurance claims database and found that the prevalence of noninfectious uveitis among adults was 121 cases per 100 000 persons and among children was 29 per 100 000 persons. Approximately 10% of anterior cases were found to require therapy above topical corticosteroids.

Meaning  A better understanding of the prevalence of noninfectious uveitis will help to determine the number of patients affected by different types of this disease.


Importance  Noninfectious uveitis (NIU) is a collection of intraocular inflammatory disorders that may be associated with significant visual impairment. To our knowledge, few studies have investigated NIU prevalence overall or stratified by inflammation location, severity, presence of systemic conditions, age, or sex.

Objective  To estimate NIU prevalence using a large, retrospective, administrative claims database.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This analysis used the OptumHealth Reporting and Insights database to estimate 2012 NIU prevalence. Analysis was conducted in September 2016. The large administrative insurance claims database includes 14 million privately insured individuals in 69 self-insured companies spanning diverse industries. Included in the study were patients with NIU with 2 or more uveitis diagnoses on separate days in 2012 and continuous enrollment in a health plan for all of 2012 and categorized by inflammation site.

Main Outcomes and Measures  We estimated overall NIU prevalence by inflammation site, severity, sex, and age. Patients with anterior NIU were categorized by the presence of systemic conditions.

Results  Of the approximately 4 million eligible adult patients, approximately 2.1 million were women, and of the 932 260 children, 475 481 were boys. The adult prevalence of NIU was 121 cases per 100 000 persons (95% CI, 117.5-124.3). The pediatric NIU prevalence was 29 cases per 100 000 (95% CI, 26.1-33.2). Anterior NIU accounted for 81% (3904 cases) of adult NIU cases (98 per 100 000; 95% CI, 94.7-100.9) and 75% (207 cases) of pediatric NIU cases (22 per 100 000; 95% CI, 19.3-25.4). The prevalences of noninfectious intermediate, posterior, and panuveitis were, for adults, 1 (95% CI, 0.8-1.5), 10 (95% CI, 9.4-11.5), and 12 (95% CI, 10.6-12.7) per 100 000, respectively, and for pediatric patients, 0 (95% CI, 0.1-1.1), 3 (95% CI, 1.8-4.1), and 4 (95% CI, 2.9-5.6) per 100 000, respectively. The prevalence of NIU increased with age and was higher among adult females than males. Application of these estimates to the US population suggests that NIU affected approximately 298 801 American adults (95% CI, 290 512-307 324) and 21 879 children (95% CI, 19 360-24 626) in 2015.

Conclusions and Relevance  The estimated prevalence of NIU was 121 cases per 100 000 for adults (95% CI, 117.5-124.3) and 29 per 100 000 for children (95% CI, 26.1-33.2). Prevalence was estimated using administrative claims from a commercially insured population, which may have a different prevalence than other segments of the US population. A better understanding of the prevalence of NIU will help to determine the number of patients affected.