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Tuesday / June 18.
HomeminewsSerious Vision Loss for Zika Babies

Serious Vision Loss for Zika Babies

Although one of the most serious consequences of the Zika virus (ZIKV) in infants is microcephaly, there is a broad collection of anomalies now known as congenital Zika syndrome (CZS).

Some of the most serious consequences are ophthalmologic, including macular scarring, retinal defects, low visual acuity, strabismus, and nystagmus. Two studies of infants with suspected and confirmed CZS found that while about 40 per cent had ocular abnormalities, 100 per cent had visual impairment. Thus, cortical visual impairment might be the most common cause of blindness among children with CZS.

In a study of 70 infants in Brazil with microcephaly, 25 had ophthalmologic changes: 18 intraocular abnormalities; seven with strabismus or nystagmus without intraocular abnormalities. Eleven who could be tested for visual acuity, were all below normal range. Investigators noted that although they could not obtain specific serological tests that would confirm ZIKV infection in these patients, all were screened for other infectious conditions that could cause microcephaly.

Another study of 32 infants born in Brazil with confirmed ZIKV infection, found all had visual impairment; 14 exhibited retinal and/or optic nerve damage and had neuroimaging or neurological abnormalities detected at birth. Lead investigator Dr. Liana Ventura, of HOPE Eye Hospital, Brazil, said, “regardless of fundus involvement, all infants presented with visual impairment, suggesting that the visual impairment is most likely related to the extensive damage to the central nervous system. These findings reinforce our supposition that brain damage is the main etiology for visual impairment in CZS.”