The latest Zika concern involves a potentially severe eye condition
New information about the Zika virus emerges daily. The most recent cause for alarm was reported by doctors in Brazil who found the virus can harm vision and potentially cause a severe eye condition called uveitis.
One patient, who was in his early 40s, recovered from the condition, which, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, occurs when the uvea is inflamed. The uvea is made up of the iris, ciliary body and choroid, and is the middle layer of tissue that surrounds the central gel-filled cavity of the eye, or the vitreous.
“Symptoms of uveitis can include redness, pain and blurry vision among others,” says Dr. Harold Sy, an ophthalmologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “If you experience these symptoms, you should consult your ophthalmologist. Make sure you share all information that may be relevant, such as health history, any abnormalities or pain you might be experiencing in other areas of the body and places you’ve recently visited.”
Dr. Sy encourages contacting your physician as soon as possible to help manage any pain and keep the condition from causing other health issues like cataracts and high blood pressure in the eye.
Uveitis joins a host of other health conditions associated with the Zika virus, including fever, rash, joint pain and the birth defect microcephaly. There are still no local mosquito-borne cases of the virus in the United States, but Zika has been found in travelers returning to the U.S. and, in some cases, with people who are sexually active with someone already infected with the virus.
For more information on the Zika virus, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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