Measles causes 60,000 cases of blindness in the world yearly. The contagious virus is prevalent in East Africa and Asia, and new cases are still emerging in Europe and in the United States. Lack of vaccination and poor nutrition are linked to the increased rate of blindness in affected nations.
In this post, your trusted optometrist, Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, discusses how the measles virus can affect the eye.
Eye Problems Caused by Measles
Conjunctivitis – It is characterized by redness and watery eyes, and is commonly present in most measles patients. This is one of the early signs of the disease together with fever, cough and a runny nose. It usually goes away on its own through the course of the disease.
Keratitis – It is an infection in the cornea, which is more dangerous compared to conjunctivitis. The condition is characterized by pain, redness, tearing and light sensitivity. It causes blurred vision, but scarring can lead to permanent vision loss. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, have an eye care specialist like Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry examine your eyes.
Corneal Scarring – The measles virus or bacterial infection can cause corneal ulcers or open sores in front of the eye. They look like white dots on the front of the eyes and can leave opaque scar tissue that may affect vision and even lead to blindness.
Retinopathy – In rare cases, the measles virus destroys the retina, causing temporary and permanent vision loss.
Blindness – Measles is one of the leading causes of childhood blindness in developing countries.
Malnutrition and Vitamin A deficiency are linked to corneal scarring from ulceration and keratitis, the most common causes of vision loss from measles.
Have Your Vision Protected by Doctors
At Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, we are your provider of eye care services. You can also visit us for your contact lenses or ask us about LASIK eye surgery. Give us a call at (703) 660-9494, or complete our online form. We help patients in Alexandria, VA.