February 08, 2019
1 min read

Study finds correlation between uveitis, higher stress levels

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Uveitis is associated with increased subjectively perceived psychological stress, according to a study carried out by a group of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study included 80 patients with noninfectious anterior, posterior or panuveitis and 40 controls seen over a period of 3.5 months. They were asked to complete the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) questionnaire, rating stress level from 0 (no stress) to 40 (high stress), and to perform at-home saliva collection for measuring cortisol levels as a biometric indicator of stress.

Having uveitis was associated with a 4.3-point increase in the PSS-10 score, with a nonsignificant difference between recently active and controlled uveitis subgroups. Diurnal cortisol levels did not differ significantly between uveitis patients and controls.

The study data were also analyzed to investigate potential predictors of uveitis. Female sex, a history of depression and posterior or panuveitis as compared with anterior uveitis were associated with higher PSS-10 score.

This study confirms the results of other studies that found a higher level of psychological distress in patients with uveitis, the authors said. However, it remains unclear whether stress might be a cause contributing to the pathology or rather an answer to having a chronic vision-impairing condition.

“Our study cannot determine whether stress is a trigger or a result of uveitis. However, the findings contribute to the growing body of evidence suggesting that patients with uveitis appear to have higher levels of stress compared with nonuveitic controls and would benefit from additional attention to their psychological well-being,” the authors wrote.

They finally recommended heightened awareness and attention to psychological stress in this population. – by Michela Cimberle

Disclosure: Berlinberg reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for the other authors’ financial disclosures.