Weakened Immune System? Arm Yourself With Knowledge About CMV Retinitis

Posted on: 14 December 2015

Do you have a weakened immune system due to leukemia, HIV/AIDS, or another condition? You probably know to be on the lookout for colds that you're at an increased risk of developing due to your weak immune system. But there's another health concern you should keep in mind, too. Cytomegalovirus retinitis, also known as CMV retinitis, is an eye infection that occurs most often in patients with weakened immune systems. Educating yourself about this eye condition will ensure that if you do develop it, you will be able to identify it quickly and know what to expect in terms of treatment.

What are the symptoms of CMV retinitis?

One of the first symptoms of this condition is often the appearance of floaters in your visual field. These may look like little white spots that pop up and then disappear. A few days later, your vision will likely become blurry. Often, this starts on one eye, but if you do not seek treatment right away, the virus can spread to the other eye quite easily. Without treatment, the infection causes progressive blindness, which starts with a blind spot in the middle of the visual field and progresses outwards. The disease may lead to a completely detached retina, which causes permanent blindness in many cases.

What causes CMV retinitis, and how can you reduce your risk?

You can reduce your risk of contracting CMV retinitis by taking any antiviral or immune supporting medications your doctor has supplied exactly as instructed. This will help keep your immune system stronger and able to fight off the virus. Do not spend time in public if you have any other illness, as you may contract CMV retinitis while in a weakened state. Also, see your eye doctor for regular checkups so that if you do develop the condition, it is caught early.

How is CMV retinitis treated?

If you are diagnosed with this condition, your eye doctor will likely prescribe an antiviral medication. This may be administered orally or injected into the eye. This should keep the condition from progressing any further, though it will not correct any vision loss you've experienced. If the disease has already caused substantial damage to your retina, surgery may be required to repair the damage. Once you have had CMV retinitis once, you are at an increased risk of developing it again. Thus, your eye doctor will want to see you regularly to ensure any re-infection is detected early.

If you have a weakened immune system and have noticed any floaters or blurriness in your vision, contact an eye doctor, like Charles Richards A OD, as soon as possible to be tested for CMV retinitis.