The field of rheumatology presents a unique challenge because of the thought processes involved in making decisions and diagnoses. During my fellowship training and as part of obtaining my master’s degree, I discovered a profound lack of high-quality research studies in pediatric uveitis. Now, I dedicate my research to improving the visual outcomes of children with chronic, noninfectious uveitis using interventions that decrease vision loss and blindness.
In the past, there were no valid measures of uveitis outcomes, which led to my development of the only questionnaire that assesses vision-related function and quality of life in children with the condition. The Effects of Youngsters’ Eyesight on QOL (EYE-Q) is now part of clinical outcome measurements used to characterize the impact of uveitis on children’s lives.
Through my research, I identify risk factors for uveitis development, specifically in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. I accomplish this by discovering biomarkers in tears and by using genetic associations.
I work to standardize the approach clinicians use to evaluate uveitis outcomes, including assessments of the impact of uveitis on quality of life and functioning. This information then helps improve treatment outcomes.
Throughout my career, I have received several grants from organizations like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health, and other ophthalmology and rheumatology foundations. In my continuing work, I lead initiatives to improve screening, monitoring and treatment of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and uveitis.