As new diagnoses appear, etiology is understood better and treated better, resulting in a decrease of prevalence rates.
Peter Andreas Netland, MD, PhD, professor and chair of ophthalmology, University of Virginia:
The prevalence rates are going up and down in different areas of that. I think overall, I'd have to check it, but I think it's similar. But there are some of the types of uveitis that are going way down, for example fuchs heterochromic iridocyclitis has almost disappeared for the US because the etiology is probably the rubella virus which we have a vaccine for, so it's sort of disappearing. But we still see it in immigrant populations, but it's very low now whereas other populations have gone up.
So I think the overall rate of just inflammatory disease and causing eye problems is probably pretty similar although the specific causes have changed over time. And that's been going on a long time, you know back in the 1920s and 30s there were a completely different set of diseases in 1940s and 50s and 60s that caused a lot of inflammatory problems in eye disease.
You know thinking of some examples that have really essentially almost disappeared, but so we're still going through that evolution of finding, you know, diagnoses appear etiologies understood better, is treated better and then the prevalence rates decrease. But then new things have popped up to fill that that void, so I think overall, it's still a problem that we have to deal with in clinical practice. You know we will see a certain percentage of patients that will have it, that rate, I mean they don't seem to be disappearing even though there are some types of those patients that we seem to be seeing a little bit less of nowadays.