West Nile And The Eyes

West Nile And The Eyes



Did you know that West Nile Virus can result in lesions to the part of the eye which gives us our sharp, central vision? With the recently issued mosquito-borne illness advisory, Community Eye Center (CEC) seeks to inform about eye manifestations of the West Nile Virus.

Late last week, health the Florida Department of Health Charlotte County issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory. The advisory arose after a recently confirmed human case of West Nile Virus.

Often, patients will present no symptoms of the West Nile Virus. But, in about 20% of cases, those infected may develop a fever and other symptoms including headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. In rare cases, West Nile can develop into a potentially life-threatening disease that affects the central nervous system.

Those infected with West Nile Virus may also experience eye manifestations including anterior uveitis, retinal vasculitis, optic neuritis, subconjunctival hemorrhage, sixth nerve palsy, nystagmus, and congenital chorioretinal scarring. The most common eye manifestation related to the illness is asymptomatic multifocal chorioretinitis (lesions to the macula).

Multifocal chorioretinitis consists of small, multifocal, retinal lesions together with intraocular inflammatory. Symptoms include blind spots, floaters, eye discomfort and perceived flashes of light. Commonly treated with steroids, chorioretinitis can also happen to those who have never had the West Nile Virus. Chorioretinitis is considered a chronic eye condition. Symptoms can return or worsen even after successful treatment.

With asymptomatic multifocal chorioretinitis resulting from West Nile Virus,  patients may experience vision loss. Vision typically returns after the West Nile infection subsides. Still, in severe cases of chorioretinitis associated with West Nile, permanent vision loss has been reported.

Often happening gradually in adults, vision changes can go unnoticed. A routine comprehensive exam is the best way to ensure that vision stays sharp. Comprehensive medical eye exams become even more critical as a person ages because conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal conditions become more common. Early diagnosis and intervention of these diseases can often prevent vision loss or blindness.

Whether in need of a routine exam or facing something more complex, Community Eye Center’s eye care providers are prepared to help. For over 30 years, CEC has provided excellence in eye care from multiple south-west Florida locations, eye only surgery center, and optical services.

Community Eye Center offers total eye care including cataract surgery, dry eye treatment, treatment of macular degeneration and all other retinal diseases, glaucoma treatment, diabetic eye exams, eyelid & cosmetic surgery, comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses & glasses, and 24/7 emergency eye care. Selecting only the most qualified and dedicated eye health professionals (board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, oculoplastic specialists, cataract specialists, and more), CEC offers comprehensive and expedient care.

For more information about the effects of West Nile on eye health, please contact Community Eye Center at +1-941-625-1325.

Community Eye Center (CEC) was first founded in 1980 by Dr. Anthony Limoncelli to serve the area residents by providing a central resource for the eye health needs of the community. Over three decades, CEC has grown to include nine physicians at multiple Southwest Florida locations, an eye only surgery center and optical services. A part of CEC, St Lucy’s Eye Surgery Center is the only facility in Charlotte County dedicated exclusively to eye surgery.

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+1 (941) 625-1325


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