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CMV Retinitis

CMV or cytomegalovirus retinitis is a vision threatening virus that causes inflammation of the retina, primarily in individuals with a compromised immune system, such as those with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

Symptoms of CMV Retinitis

Symptoms of CMV retinitis often appear relatively suddenly. They include general blurriness, seeing flashes or floaters, sudden loss of peripheral (side) vision, or blind spots in central vision. These symptoms all appear as the virus attacks the retina, the light-sensitive layer of nerves at the back of the eye. If left untreated, the virus can cause retinal detachment and will eventually destroy the retina and damage the optic nerve, causing permanent vision loss. Usually there is no pain felt as the retinal damage is taking place. Symptoms usually start in one eye and but can spread to the other eye as well.

Causes of CMV Retinitis

Cytomegalovirus is a herpes type virus that is actually present in most adults. However, most healthy adults never experience any symptoms or problems from the virus. Individuals with a weakened immune system however, such as those with AIDS, chemotherapy or leukemia patients, newborns or the elderly are at greater risk of the virus being activated and spreading throughout the body, including the retina.

Treatment for CMV Retinitis

Treatment includes antiviral medications such as ganciclovir, foscarnet or cidofovir, which can be administered orally, via injection through a vein or directly into the eye or through a time-release implant the releases the medication at intervals. Laser surgery to improve the damaged area of the retina, such as in a retinal detachment, may also be prescribed.

Immune strengthening is also a critical part of preventing and treating CMV retinitis. Individuals with HIV or AIDS may be put on a regimen of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to boost the immune system and fight the virus. This has been shown to be highly effective in reducing the incidence of CMV retinitis in AIDS patients and reducing the damage for those that are affected.

While these treatments can stop further damage to the retina, any vision that is lost cannot be restored. Further, even if the virus is temporarily stopped, further progression may occur in the future. This is why it is critical to see a retinal specialist on a regular basis if you have had the condition or you are at risk.

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Dear Valued Patient,

At Premier Vision Care Optometry, the health and safety of our patients and employees are our top concern.

Due to the CDC recommendation to postpone routine eye care visits, our office will only be seeing patients deemed essential and urgent as of March 18th for the next 14 days (this is subject to change). Please call our office for further details regarding scheduling essential and urgent appointments.

If you are in urgent need of contact lenses during this time. Please call our office with your order details and we will be happy to ship lenses to you with no additional shipping costs to you.

As a reminder, if you have fallen ill, have traveled abroad, or had close contact with someone who has traveled abroad within the past 30 days and are due to be seen for an appointment, please let our office know. We will be happy to change your appointment to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this unprecedented time.

Kent J. Nozaki, O.D.

Calista Ming, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.S.L.S.