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June 2013

The Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature Project: The Future Is Here

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Ophthalmology, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan (Dr Okada); and Departments of Ophthalmology and Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, and Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Jabs).

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;131(6):787-789. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.1596

In 1996, an editorial in the Archives of Ophthalmology entitled “Uveitis and the Tower of Babel” bemoaned the inconsistent use of vocabulary to describe even quite common cases of uveitis.1 Members of the American Uveitis Society were given clinical vignettes and informally surveyed for this editorial1; they revealed a striking difference in opinion regarding whether a particular term was appropriate to describe a hypothetical clinical situation. For example, for the first vignette, members were asked if the term pars planitis should be used in reference to a 25-year-old woman with bilateral findings of anterior chamber cells, vitreous cells, and “snowbanks” over the inferior pars plana. Of those surveyed, 33% thought that pars planitis was the preferred term, 39% thought that it was an acceptable term, and 28% thought that it was an unacceptable term. One can imagine that if uveitis specialists around the world were surveyed in a similar fashion, the discord would be even greater. This state of “discommunication” is by no means unique to uveitis. However, when one considers that each uveitic disease is of relatively low prevalence, that disease prevalences differ greatly depending on the part of the world, and that typical features of the same disease differ depending on a patient's ethnicity, perhaps there was little opportunity for a common language of communication to spontaneously develop.

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