A Link Between The Zika Virus & Glaucoma

Article Written and Posted by Brulimar - 12th December 2016

Researchers have discovered that there could be a link between the Zika virus and glaucoma, resulting in a loss of eyesight.


As leading wholesale eyewear manufacturers, we like to keep up-to-date with the latest ophthalmology-related news. Due to this, we have noticed that in recent articles a team of researchers from the Yale School of Public Health have uncovered a direct link between the Zika virus and child glaucoma, which could leave youngsters with a complete loss of eyesight, resulting in fresh concern surrounding the disease and parents having a reason to be even more concerned. To learn more, continue reading.

The Zika virus is a disease transmitted through mosquitoes, causing painful fevers, vomiting, brain damage, and death in babies, with no vaccine currently available. Since the outbreak began in 2015, the Zika virus has reached epidemic levels in several areas worldwide, with Brazil being of particular concern where there are a total of 200,000 reported suspected cases. Now, parents have reason to be increasingly concerned; researchers have found a link between the disease and glaucoma, believing that the virus could cause severe damage to the retina and, as a result, turn into the development of glaucoma, a condition that can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve and complete vision loss. 

Dr. Albert Icksang Ko, professor at the Yale School of Public Health, has worked alongside local scientists since the Zika virus first appeared in the Americas in order to better understand the birth defects and risk factors associated with the disease. When carrying out research, Ko and fellow researchers discovered a three-month-old boy who had been exposed to the Zika virus during gestation; after birth, the young boy developed swelling, pain, and tearing in his right eye. As a result, the team of researchers diagnosed glaucoma as the cause of the symptoms and joined together with local ophthalmologists to perform an operation, successfully relieving the young boy of the pressure he felt within his eye.

The investigators stressed the point that while this is the first known incidence of glaucoma affecting a Zika virus sufferer, those treating patients with the disease should be aware that glaucoma could be another symptom associated and, as a result, should be monitored. For further development, additional research would need to take place in order to determine whether or not glaucoma was caused by indirect or direct exposure to the Zika virus, during gestation or postpartum.

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