CMV retinitis, properly known as cytomegalovirus retinitis, is a disease that causes inflammation of the retina in the eye. This can lead to serious complications including blindness. Although many people never show any signs the most common symptoms of CMV retinitis are; eye pain, blind spots, blurred vision, floaters (the appearance of floating specks) and other vision problems. Without proper treatment the damage to the retina can cause blindness in less than 6 months. The problem usually begins in one eye and will often progress to the other eye. CMV retinitis is diagnosed with blood and urine tests. Let’s take a look at what causes this serious condition.
What causes cytomegalovirus retinitis?
The cause of CMV retinitis is caused by a virus from the herpes family called cytomegalovirus. This virus is found in most people, but it is usually detected and fought by the immune system. However, in some people with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS, this virus is not destroyed and it causes CMV retinitis. Like other members of the herpes virus family, this virus remains dormant in the body and can become reactivated at any time. In patients with a compromised immune system the virus can eventually cause a systemic infection.
How is CMV retinitis treated?
Antiviral medication is usually used to treat the condition. These drugs may be taken orally, through the veins (intravenously) or even directly injected into the eye.
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