Uveitis Clinical Study Group: COVID-19 Update for Patients with uveitis and scleritis.
COVID-19 advice for uveitis patients
June 7th 2021
It is safe to be vaccinated for COVID-19 if you have uveitis or are on immune suppressing medicine for uveitis. It is important to be vaccinated to reduce your risk of infection with COVID-19.
Anyone over 30 years old can now have a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone aged 18-29 years on prednisolone or immune suppressing medicines is also eligible to be vaccinated.
If you are on immune suppressing tablets/capsules* or prednisolone (less than 20mg a day), or both, for inflammatory or autoimmune uveitis, you do not need to take special precautions for COVID-19 beyond what is advised for everyone. Follow ‘hands, face, space' advice.
*such as azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, methotrexate, cyclosporin or tacrolimus.
- If you are on 20mg or more of prednisolone, or have been treated with cyclophosphamide (given intravenously by a drip) in the last 6 months, you should follow the government advice for clinical vulnerable people. This is even if you have been fully vaccinated.
This includes (on 7th June 2021)
- work from home if possible, or be socially distanced at work
- attend school or college and take up twice weekly testing
- minimise risks with shopping
- follow government guidance about how many people you can meet
- Do not stop your usual immunosuppression or steroids because of fears over contracting COVID-19.
Your doctor will only prescribe prednisolone higher than 20mg/day (4x5mg tablets) if it is necessary to control your eye disease which risks damaging your eyesight.
- If you do contract COVID-19 you should continue prednisolone treatment, and contact your doctor about increasing the dose. You should suspend any immune suppressing medicine until you have recovered, and contact your uveitis specialist to let them know you are doing so.
All this advice also applies if you have scleritis.
Update about the risks of immune suppressing medicine for adults and children during COVID 19
Recent studies have shown that adult patients on immune suppressing medicine for long-term inflammatory diseases are not linked with worse COVID-19 infections or an increased risk of death. There are other risks factors which are more important such as age, heart disease and being overweight. More details are available on these government pages.
Children on immune suppressing medicines are also at no greater risk of contracting COVID-19 or of being more sick than other children if they do get coronavirus. Children and young adults should continue to go to school, colleges and university. The advice for children is summarised on the CCA.org website.
Resources for Uveitis and Scleritis Patients
Resources for emotional and mental wellbeing: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapsec1fd1
Reliable resources for the UK are:
For parents and children:
Government Webpages about coronavirus and government advice for at risk groups:
Higher Risk Groups: