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Zika Can Harm Babies’ Vision, Too

Zika Can Harm Babies’ Vision, Too

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Although Zika virus is most well-known for the devastating neurological injury it may possibly trigger within the womb, a brand new research studies that some infants contaminated with Zika additionally might have lifelong imaginative and prescient impairment.

Forty-three infants born in Colombia and Venezuela suffered injury to each eyes after being uncovered to Zika by way of their pregnant moms, researchers stated. Their moms confirmed no indicators of eye problems.

The injury primarily concerned scar tissue on their retinas and optic nerves. But, 5 infants additionally appeared to have congenital glaucoma, stated Dr. Fernando Arevalo, chair of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.

Congenital glaucoma is a situation that causes elevated strain within the eye, probably as a result of the attention’s drainage system did not develop correctly. It may cause injury to the optic nerve, in accordance with the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Vision loss brought on by scarring is irreversible, nevertheless it’s too early to inform how badly the injury has affected the infants’ eyesight, Arevalo stated. It’s very possible that no less than some are completely blinded.

“Their vision is impaired, but we don’t know how much because the babies are just too small at this time,” Arevalo stated, noting that the typical age at time of examination was 2 months previous. “We can’t tell how much they can see and can’t see.” The infants within the research have been evaluated from October 2015 to June 2016.

All of the infants included within the report have been born with microcephaly, the hallmark delivery defect of Zika, Arevalo stated. Microcephaly causes the cranium and mind to be underdeveloped.

But upon examination, Arevalo and his colleagues discovered that Zika additionally had executed injury to the infants’ eyes.

It is sensible, given the influence Zika has on neural tissue, Arevalo stated.

“The retina and the optic nerve are prolongations of the brain,” he stated. “They come from the brain. It is a natural thing that we would have this effect in the eyes.”

The scar tissue different in measurement from child to child.

“There are some babies that have very small lesions in the retina,” Arevalo stated. “Those babies may be lucky and have less impaired vision.”

Researchers will proceed to watch these youngsters, first to determine how badly their eyesight is affected after which to see if their imaginative and prescient continues to deteriorate as they get older, Arevalo stated.

The new report “provides further evidence that Zika can have damaging effects on the developing eyes of fetuses, a manifestation that has been reported previously,” stated Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior affiliate on the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

As of March 28, 2017, roughly 1,300 American women had accomplished pregnancies with confirmed Zika infections. Fifty-six infants born to these women had Zika-related birth defects, in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is transmitted primarily by mosquito chew.

Health specialists have been involved that infants born apparently wholesome after Zika publicity within the womb may develop some neurological issues later in childhood.

Now that very same concern must be prolonged to the imaginative and prescient of those youngsters, Arevalo and Adalja stated.

“It will be important to follow all these patients to track the progression of their vision and other ophthalmologic parameters,” Adalja stated.

“The report underscores the need for early recognition of Zika in newborns,” he added.

The research findings have been revealed April 14 within the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Fernando Arevalo, M.D., chair, ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore; Amesh Adalja, M.D., senior affiliate, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Baltimore; April 14, 2017, JAMA Ophthalmology

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