Zika: Its Impact on Your Eyes

Summertime in Florida brings tourists… and mosquitoes. The Zika virus is on the mind of many tourists and locals alike, and its impact has affected worldwide populations. Many people associate the Zika virus with pregnant women, but it can affect anyone who comes in contact with the vector of the Zika virus – the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. The Orlando ophthalmology specialists want you to recognize the vision signs brought on by the Zika virus.

  • Most individuals who come into contact with the mosquito vectors of the Zika virus have few or minor symptoms, which may last a week and are similar to a common cold. This proves to be insidious, though, since the person infected with the virus who has no life-threatening symptoms can pass the virus to another individual through the exchange of bodily fluids.
  • Common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, headache, and conjunctivitis.
  • The lining of the sclera, or white of the eye, is called the conjunctiva. Inflammation of the conjunctiva is called conjunctivitis. Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis spreads quickly from one individual to another.
  • Symptoms of conjunctivitis are redness, excessive tears, itchy and burning eyes, blurred vision, and photophobia (light sensitivity).
  • If you believe you have conjunctivitis and wear contacts, throw out the contacts immediately and wear glasses until symptoms are relieved. Conjunctivitis thrives in the environment between your eye and your contact and spreads from contact to eye and back again.
  • Any blurring of vision calls for a visit to your Orlando ophthalmology experts at Magruder Laser Vision since viruses can cause retinal scarring, which will permanently alter your vision.

Protect yourself from the Zika virus host, the mosquito, by wearing light, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going outside in the early morning and evening when mosquitoes are most abundant. Invest in an insecticide that contains DEET, and use it as recommended. If you are stung, don’t panic; most people have little or no reaction. If you begin to notice the symptoms noted above, contact your primary care physician. If your vision is involved, call 407-843-5665 and speak with one of our Orlando ophthalmology team members at Magruder Laser Vision. Read our blogs for more information on how you can protect your vision.