A serious eye infection caused by common herpes virus
Cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV retinitis) is a serious eye infection.
Cytomegalovirus is a common herpes virus. If immunity is weak, CMV can spread to the retina through the bloodstream. It is a significant threat to people with weak immune systems, such as people with HIV and AIDS, newborns, the elderly, chemotherapy patients, and organ transplant recipients.
Normal, unaffected retina
About 20 to 30 percent of people with AIDS develop CMV retinitis.
Indicators of possible CMV retinitis are the loss of peripheral vision or a blind spot that may progress to the loss of straight-ahead vision. Floating spots or spider webs, flashing lights, and blurred vision may also indicate possible CMV retinitis. Without treatment or improvement, CMV retinitis causes blindness.
Drugs are used to treat CMV retinitis. There is also a treatment that places a small implant inside the eye. Recurrence of CMV retinitis is common; monthly appointments with an ophthalmologist are important.