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Ophthalmic Manifestations and Causes of Vision Impairment in Ebola Virus Disease Survivors in Monrovia, Liberia

Published:December 01, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.10.011

      Purpose

      To describe the ocular findings, visual impairment, and association of structural complications of uveitis with visual impairment in a cohort of survivors of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Monrovia, Liberia.

      Design

      Retrospective, uncontrolled, cross-sectional study.

      Participants

      Survivors of EVD who were evaluated in an ophthalmology clinic at Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

      Methods

      A cohort of EVD survivors who underwent baseline ophthalmic evaluation at ELWA Hospital were retrospectively reviewed for demographic information, length of Ebola treatment unit (ETU) stay, visual acuity (VA), and ophthalmic examination findings. For patients with uveitis, disease activity (active vs. inactive) and grade of inflammation were recorded according to Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature criteria. The level of VA impairment was categorized according to World Health Organization classification for VA impairment as follows: normal/mild, VA 20/70 or better; moderate, VA 20/70–20/200; severe, VA 20/200–20/400; blindness, VA <20/400. Visual acuity, length of ETU stay, and structural complications were compared between EVD survivors with and without uveitis. Structural complications associated with moderate VA impairment or poorer were analyzed.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Frequency of ocular complications including uveitis and optic neuropathy in EVD survivors, level of VA impairment in EVD survivors with uveitis, and structural complications associated with VA impairment in EVD survivors.

      Results

      A total of 96 survivors of EVD were examined. A total of 21 patients developed an EVD-associated uveitis, and 3 patients developed an EVD-associated optic neuropathy. Visual acuity was blind (VA >20/400) in 38.5% of eyes with uveitis. Anatomic subtypes of uveitis included anterior, posterior, and panuveitis in 2, 13, and 6 patients, respectively. Examination findings associated with at least moderate visual impairment by World Health Organization criteria (VA <20/70) included keratic precipitates (P < 0.002), posterior synechiae (P < 0.002), vitritis (P < 0.005), and chorioretinal scars (P < 0.02).

      Conclusions

      Survivors of EVD are at risk for uveitis, which may lead to secondary structural complications, visual impairment, and blindness. Eye care resources should be mobilized for EVD survivors in West Africa because of the frequency of this spectrum of disease complication and its potential for severe VA impairment and blindness.

      Acronyms and Abbreviations:

      ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa), ETU (Ebola treatment unit), EVD (Ebola virus disease), IOP (intraocular pressure), VA (visual acuity)
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