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Chorioretinitis
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Chorioretinitis

(CR; Choroiditis; Iritis; Pars Planitis; Uveitis)

Pronounced: Koh-re-O-ret-E-ni-tis

En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition

Chorioretinitis is an inflammation of the choroid, a lining of the retina deep in the eye. This inflammation can affect vision.

Anatomy of the Eye

AR00032_labeled eye

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

You should visit your doctor as soon as you suspect you have this condition because it is often caused by a more serious, often systemic, condition. Also, some cases of chorioretinitis can lead to permanent vision loss, especially if not treated promptly.

Causes

Chorioretinitis may be caused by infection or by autoimmune diseases, including HIV/AIDS , syphilis , sarcoidosis , and tuberculosis . It is sometimes caused by an infection that you experienced when you were young; symptoms of chorioretinitis may not appear for 10 to 20 years.

Risk Factors

The following factors increase your chance of developing chorioretinitis. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:

  • If you have or have had an autoimmune or infectious disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis , sacrcoidosis, syphilis, or tuberculosis

Symptoms

If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to chorioretinitis. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions as well. If you experience any one of them, see your eye doctor immediately.

  • Pain or redness in the eye
  • Blurred vision, or seeing “floaters”
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, including illnesses and injuries, and perform a physical exam.

To prepare for a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor may put drops in your eyes to numb them and to dilate the pupils. The slit lamp, a special microscope to examine the eye, will focus a high powered beam of light into your eye to examine the cornea and other structures in your eye.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.

Medications recommended will vary depending on the cause of the chorioretinitis. Steroid (anti-inflammatory) eye drops are the most common treatment. Your doctor may also prescribe oral medications or possibly inject steroids around the eye. If the chorioretinitis is related to an active infection, then antibiotic medications may be used as well. Your doctor may also prescribe dilating drops, which help prevent the iris from sticking to the lens underneath and reduce discomfort. However, these drops will increase glare and light sensitivity.

Also, if your doctor determines that the chorioretinitis was caused by another medical disorder, your doctor will treat the underlying condition as well. Most likely your doctor will order tests to try to determine the cause of your chorioretinitis.

Prevention

Because chorioretinitis is often caused by infections or systemic illnesses, take the following steps to help reduce your chance of getting the condition:

  • See your doctor for an eye exam if you have any eye pain or vision problems or any other problems with your eyes.
  • If you have any autoimmune diseases, follow your doctor’s recommendations closely regarding treatment of the illness and regular comprehensive eye examinations.

RESOURCES:

National Eye Institute, US National Institutes of Health
http://www.nei.nih.gov/index.asp

St. Luke’s Retina Institute
http://www.theretinasource.com/default.htm

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Optometrists
http://www.opto.ca/en/public

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.eyesite.ca

References:

Figueroa BG, Navas MP, Navas GA. Value of PCR for detection of Toxoplasma gondii in aqueous humor and blood samples from immunocompetent patients with ocular toxoplasmosis. National Center for Biomedical Information (NCBI)/PubMed website. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=10523535&query_hl=1 . Accessed August 14, 2005.

Lanzafame M, Trevenzoli M, Vento S, Parrinello A. Clinical picture: tuberculous chorioretinitis. Lancet . 2001;357(9266):1390.

Nguyen, QV. Chorioretinitis. E-medicine website. Available at: http://www.emedicine.com/ped/topic393.htm . Accessed August 14, 2005.

Yang MB. Patient complains of blurry vision in right eye for 2 weeks. Ophthalmology Times . 1997;22(12):18-20.



Last reviewed January 2008 by Christopher Cheyer, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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