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Does HIV Affect Your Eyes?

hiv eyes

Does HIV Affect Your Eyes? Our eyes are not an exemption from the severe effects of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). When the infection enters the body, it causes complications to different bodily organs, including our eyes. That explains the development of vision problems, which can get hostile without proper treatment. Learn how the virus affects our eyes and the necessary treatment to prevent them.

Besides antiretroviral therapy, paying attention to your eye health is part of your HIV management. Regular visits to the healthcare professional and taking eye tests can help prevent vision-related problems associated with HIV.

We listed some of the most common medical eye problems linked with HIV.

  • Retinitis – When HIV advances to AIDS, opportunistic infections emerge and target different body parts. One of these infections includes CMV or cytomegalovirus. This virus causes inflammation in the eyes, mainly targeting the retina. Thankfully, HIV medicines are available to treat the condition.
  • Retinopathy – A retinopathy is a condition linked with damage to the retina. The virus targets the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems like the poor assessment of colors and eyesight frequency.
  • IRU – Defined as immune recovery uveitis, this condition affects the uvea. IRU develops as an adverse reaction to taking HIV medications for treating CMV retinitis. Without proper treatment, this condition can lead to glaucoma and cataract.
  • Kaposi sarcoma – This condition is a form of cancer associated with the human immunodeficiency virus. It is commonly known for its effects on the skin; however, the spots or lesions appear near the eyes. Sometimes, the growths develop on the eyelids.
  • Dryness of the eyes – Most individuals with HIV experience dry eyes. As HIV affects the glands that produce tears, inflammation occurs within the eyes. Eye drops are available to treat the dryness and inflammation of the eyes.
  • HZO – Individuals with HIV are prone to having HZO or herpes zoster ophthalmicus. It usually targets the iris and sometimes the cornea. Fortunately, antiviral drugs are available to alleviate this condition.

What are the symptoms related to HIV-acquired vision problems?

  • Blurry vision
  • Blind spots
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain in the eyelids
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Change in color and contrast
  • Itchy eyes

Undergo regular eyes exams if you are diagnosed with HIV. Do not delay the treatment if symptoms are already present. Most importantly, prevent the possibility of having eye problems by keeping a tab on your medicines and visiting your healthcare professional frequently. You can live healthily and well if you manage and treat it appropriately.

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