Eye Health News

Why are Olympic Athletes Worried About Zika Virus?

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil have heightened interest in the Zika virus. Some athletes are boycotting the games. Babies affected by the Zika virus in utero can experience devastating visual problems as a result. Studies published in Ophthalmology and JAMA Ophthalmology detail findings that link the virus to various eye abnormalities. The Ophthalmology study noted visual problems such as retinopathy, torpedo maculopathy and missing retinal vasculature. These conditions can progress to blindness. Researchers are uncertain, however, whether the viral infection caused the eye abnormalities or if they were a result of the microcephaly which is caused by the Zika virus. The study in the JAMA Ophthalmology journal noted similar findings as well as more eye "irregularities" in babies whose mothers had Zika symptoms in the first trimester. With the number of babies being diagnosed with microcephaly on the rise, the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency.*

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