CMV (cytomegalovirus) retinitis is a viral infection that affects the retina at the back of your eye. The retina's job is to receive images and transfer them to your brain for processing, so any infection in this area of your eye can damage your sight. CMV retinitis typically affects those with a weakened immune system, and the virus that causes the condition is related to the herpes virus. Those at an increased risk of developing this illness include organ transplant patients, those with HIV or aids, anyone undergoing chemotherapy and those taking medication to suppress the immune system. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for CMV retinitis:
Common early symptoms of CMV retinitis include reduced peripheral vision, blurred vision and eye floaters, which are caused by cell debris at the back of your eye near the retina. Some sufferers also experience flashes of light in their peripheral vision, and both eyes are usually affected. In the later stages of infection, CMV retinitis can lead to optic nerve damage and retinal detachment, which can cause blindness.
CMV retinitis is diagnosed by carrying out an ophthalmoscopy. This involves having eye drops applied to your eyes to dilate your pupils, which allows your eye doctor to get a better look at your retina using an ophthalmoscope. This small device projects light through the pupil and has a magnifying lens attached to it to allow your doctor to see if the cells of the retina have been damaged. Diagnosis using ophthalmoscopy is considered accurate and straightforward in most cases, but if there's any doubt around the diagnosis, blood tests can be carried out to check for the presence of proteins associated with this type of viral infection.
The aim of treatment is to prevent further damage to the retina and preserve your vision. Anti-viral drugs are used to control the virus, and although they can be very effective at stalling the progression of CMV retinitis, the condition cannot currently be cured. Many of the drugs prescribed are given intravenously in a hospital setting, but there are some newer options that can be given in pill form or via an implant that's inserted into the eye. The implant is surgically positioned as a day case procedure using local anaesthetic and releases a specific daily dosage of the drug over a period of several months. Laser surgery to strengthen the attachment of the retina to the back wall of the eye may also be recommended in the early stages of retinal detachment.
If you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if you have a compromised immune system and are overdue an eye exam, schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible.Share
21 April 2017
Eye exams aren't always easy for kids. Some kids have social anxiety or fear of doctors. Others may have issues such as extreme dyslexia holding them back from even being able to read the letters on the chart, and you my be worried about what to tell the optometrist. If you are worried bout having a successful eye exam, you are not alone. I have felt the same way in the past. However, after four kids – three of whom own glasses – I have learned how to negotiate the world of optometry with kids. If you have kids, check out these tips. They will get you and your kid through your next appointment.