Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is the most common arthritis in children. Formerly known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, the disease affects more than 200,000 children. Seth Popp is one of those children. Popp was diagnosed with Oligoarthritis.
It impacts fewer than five joints in the first six months of the disease and can lead to eye inflammation, damaged vision and further join pain. "Until that time I didn't know kids got arthritis. Of course we were scared to death because he couldn't even see the big lighted E across the room with his left eye," said Seth's mother, Sheri. "We had no idea he was compensating. He was basically blind in his left eye." Seth's condition often presents itself in young patients who are unaware of a decline in their vision.
It is also the most common cause of long term chronic inflammation in the eye that involves predominately the front part of the eye according to doctors at the WVU Healthcare Eye Institute in Morgantown, WV. "So it is important for the parents to be aware that any joint problems in kids can be associated with problems elsewhere, one of which would be eye involvement," said Dr. Muge R. Kesen.
Oligoarthritis affects almost half of children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. "It is a manageable condition. It is a long-term condition. It requires regular follow-up examinations," according to Dr. Kesen. "Unfortunately we don't have a cure for the condition. So we know that it's a chronic condition with most likely recurrences and relapses." While there is no known cure, treatment for Juvenile Arthritis can include medication, physical therapy, eye care and proper nutrition.