Retinal Damage Linked to Infants With Zika Virus

HealthDay News — For infants with congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause retinal damage, which can be seen on optical coherence tomography (OCT), according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.1

Camila V. Ventura, MD, from Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional consecutive case series involving 8 infants with CZS. OCT images were obtained in the affected eyes of the infants. An immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed for ZIKV on the cerebrospinal fluid of seven of the infants.

The researchers found that the 7 infants who underwent cerebrospinal fluid analysis for ZIKV had positive findings for IgM antibodies. Eleven of the 16 eyes of the 8 infants had retinal alterations; OCT imaging was performed in 9 of these eyes, and in 1 unaffected eye. In the affected eyes, the main OCT findings included discontinuation of the ellipsoid zone and hyperreflectivity underlying the retinal pigment epithelium (9 eyes); retinal thinning (8 eyes); choroidal thinning (7 eyes); and colobomatous-like excavation involving the neurosensory retina, retinal pigment epithelium, and choroid (4 eyes).

“Zika virus can cause severe damage to the retina, including the internal and external layers, and the choroid,” the authors write. “The colobomatous-like finding seen in the OCT images relate to the excavated chorioretinal scar observed clinically.”

Related Articles


  1. Ventura CV, Ventura LO, Bravo-Filho V, et al. Optical coherence tomography of retinal lesions in infants with congenital Zika syndrome. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016 Nov 10. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4283. [Epub ahead of print]