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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Eye Inflammation

Family history of bowel condition three to 15 times more common in ocular inflammation patients

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- A family history of inflammatory bowel disease is associated with idiopathic ocular inflammation, according to a report in the June issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Debra A. Goldstein, M.D., of the University of Illinois Eye Center in Chicago, and colleagues searched the medical records of 727 patients with idiopathic ocular inflammation at the University of Illinois Uveitis Clinic from January 1995 to June 2005.

The researchers found that 3.6 percent (26 patients) had a family history of ulcerative colitis, and 1.4 percent (10 patients) had a family history of Crohn's disease. A family history of inflammatory bowel disease was three to 15 times more common in patients with idiopathic ocular inflammation than the prevalence of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease are in the general population.

"A family history of inflammatory bowel disease may be an independent risk factor for the development of ocular inflammation," the authors write. "In contrast to the subgroup of patients with a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, HLA-B27 may not be an appropriate marker in the subgroup of patients with merely a family history of inflammatory bowel disease."

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