The primary clinical research interests of Wendy M. Smith, M.D., involve improving the diagnosis and management of uveitis, an inflammation of the eye that can lead to vision loss.
- Epidemiological studies to further define the type and incidence of uveitis in Olmsted County, Minnesota
- Utilizing imaging techniques to improve the diagnosis and management of uveitis
- Developing and participating in clinical treatment trials for noninfectious uveitis
Significance to patient care
Uveitis is a relatively rare condition; however, the disease is more likely to affect younger, working-age people compared to other vision-threatening conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Vision loss, frequent medical appointments and treatment side effects can have a measurable impact on a patient's ability to engage in daily activities such as attending school or work. This can result in personal and financial consequences in the long term. Advances in diagnosis and management of uveitis can significantly improve quality of life as well as preserve vision for these patients.
Currently, there is only one systemic corticosteroid-sparing immunomodulatory medication approved for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis. Medications approved for systemic inflammatory diseases are often prescribed off-label but insurance companies may refuse to cover these medications for uveitis. The development of drugs specifically targeting uveitis and further study of existing medications approved for other indications will help expand the options for treatment.