CMV Can Cause Blindness

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 0 Google+ 0 0 Flares ×


In a study patients had unilateral or bilateral vision loss due to CMV retinitis. – Clinical Infectious Diseases (1)

Cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV retinitis) is a serious viral eye infection of the retina, the light-sensing nerve layer that lines the back of the eye. It is most often found in people with compromised immune systems. However, a study published on March 1, 2013 in the journal Clinical Ophthalmology shows that this condition can also cause eye problems in healthy individuals (2).

According to, “CMV retinitis is caused by the cytomegalovirus, one of the herpes viruses that infects the majority of adults…the virus can reactivate and spread to the retina through the bloodstream, leading to vision-threatening eye problems (3).”

CMV retinitis symptoms can begin with a slow onset of floaters (small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision) with blurred vision over a few days.

Often these symptoms progress to loss of peripheral (side) vision. Sometimes the symptoms begin in the center of vision with a blind spot that can progress to loss of central vision.

loss of sight


The symptoms usually occur first in one eye but often progress to the other eye.

Without treatment or improvement in the immune system, CMV retinitis destroys the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, and damages the optic nerve, which results in blindness. People with CMV retinitis will often develop a detached retina (a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated).” (3) says that, “Multiple antiviral agents, delivered locally, systemically, or in combination, are currently in use to delay or arrest the progress of the disease.” (4)

The bottom line?

Because studies are showing that even healthy individuals can end up with vision problems because of CMV, all infected individuals should help the immune system target the latent virus before it reactivates.


(1) Ford N1, Shubber Z, Saranchuk P, Pathai S, Durier N, O’Brien DP, Mills EJ, Pascual F, Hoen E’, Holland GN, Heiden D. “Burden of HIV-related cytomegalovirus retinitis in resource-limited settings: a systematic review.” Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Nov;57(9):1351-61

(2) Yumiko Yamamoto,1 Yoshitake Kato, Hitoshi Tabuchi, and Atsuki Fukushima “Case of cytomegalovirus retinitis aggravated by sub-Tenon injection of triamcinolone acetonide with subsequent metastatic liver cancer” Clin Ophthalmol. 2013; 7: 411–415.

(3) – What is Cytomegalovirus Retinitis?

(4) MedScape –  Michael Altaweel “CMV Retinitis” Updated: Jul 22, 2014

Leave a Reply