Spring brings more than just baby lambs

May 22, 2007

A report presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) held in May of this year, observed an increased number of uveitis cases at a New York clinic at the same time as there were peaks in tree pollen levels.

A report presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) held in May of this year, observed an increased number of uveitis cases at a New York clinic at the same time as there were peaks in tree pollen levels.

Samir Tari, MD of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, USA conducted a retrospective study to investigate whether there was a seasonal pattern present in uveitis-related ophthalmic visits over a five-year period (2001-2005) at the centre. Over the five-year period, there were 21,440 cases of uveitis and these were divided into sub-categories: new cases, uveitis-related emergency visits, anterior uveitis-related visits (acute and chronic) and posterior uveitis-related visits.

Each year, the most frequent number of visits to the clinic for uveitis were in May, irrespective of type of visit. Overall there were an average of 391 uveitis-related visits to the centre in May, compared with 379.8 in April, 378.2 in June, 354.8 in July and 346 in November.

The researchers posited that there may be a link between pollen levels or even the increased daylight that occurs in the spring. Although tree pollen is not necessarily the culprit, it does suggest that it is an area worth looking into further.