BACKGROUND: Childhood uveitis is a collection of chronic rare inflammatory eye disorders which result in visual loss in at least one eye of one fifth of affected children. Despite the introduction of novel systemic immunochemotherapies, it remains a blinding disease. We have undertaken a systematic review of outcome measures used in interventional trials of children with, or at risk of uveitis, in order to investigate metric quality and heterogeneity, as possible barriers to the translation of clinical research into improved outcomes.
METHODS: Systematic review of trials registered within databases approved by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Eligible trials for were those which involved participants aged under 18 years with or at risk of non-infectious uveitis. Data on date of study commencement, uveitis site, inclusion age criteria, and outcome measure characteristics including type, dimension and quality were extracted independently by two authors. Quality was determined using the reproducibility, validity and age-appropriateness of the metric.
RESULTS: Of 917 identified trials, 57 were eligible for inclusion. Twenty different domains across five dimensions were used as primary outcome measures. The structure most commonly used was multiple separate outcome measures. In a quarter of studies, outcomes were assessed less than 3 months following the intervention. Disease activity was the most commonly assessed dimension, with only 30 studies (60%) using reproducible methodologies to assess activity. Only 2/12 (18%) studies on intermediate or posterior uveitis used reproducible activity grading schemes. Of 18 studies involving children aged under 6 years old which used outcome measures related to visual function, only 8/18 (44%) described the use of age-appropriate acuity assessment measures. None of the studies used a vision related quality of life metrics which had been validated for use in childhood.
CONCLUSION: This review of outcome measures in childhood uveitis interventional trials has identified under-utilisation of reproducible or child appropriate measures, and considerable heterogeneity in metric type, and structure. Clinicians and researchers interested in improving outcomes for affected children must identify a patient and family centred core outcome set, and work to validate both objective and patient (or proxy) reported disease age appropriate outcome measures.
- Outcome measures
- Paediatric uveitis
- Rare disease