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Chorioretinitis: What is this Rare Eye Disease?

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What is Chorioretinitis?

Chorioretinitis refers to a group of diseases that affect choroid or uvea in the eye. The choroid/uvea is a middle layer of the eye that contains the vast majority of the eye’s blood vessels. Inflammation of the uvea is also referred to as uveitis.

This inflammation can destroy eye tissues and result in slight or even severe vision loss. It affects people of all ages, but particularly those between 20 and 60 years of age.

What Causes Chorioretinitis?

Inflammation of the eye can happen because of:

• Autoimmunity (AIDS)
• Infections or tumors within the eye or other parts of the body
• Bruising to the eye
• Toxins that penetrate the eye
• Congenital viral, bacterial or protozoal infections in newborns

West Nile and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) have also been found to be a factor, as have:

• Ankylosing spondylitis
• Behcet’s syndrome
• Epstein-Barr virus
• Varicella-zoster virus (Herpes)
• Kawasaki disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Psoriasis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Sarcoidosis
• Syphilis
• Toxoplasmosis
• Tuberculosis
• Ulcerative colitis
• Vogt Koyanagi Harada’s disease

Symptoms and Treatment of Chorioretinitis

Chorioretinitis can affect only one or both eyes, usually quite suddenly. The symptoms may not actually appear for 10 to 20 years. (Mount Sinai)

Symptoms can include:

• Pain or redness in the eye
• Blurred vision
• Dar, floating spots or “floaters”
• Light sensitivity
• Excessive watering of the eye

It is important to note that having these symptoms does not mean that you have chorioretinitis, but if you are suffering from eye pain, acute light sensitivity and any change in vision, see an ophthalmologist immediately.

If you have or have had an autoimmune disorder or infectious inflammatory disease (rheumatoid arthritis or tuberculosis), make sure you tell your ophthalmologist.

Examination for uveitis involves the doctor putting drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils and then examining the inside structures of the eye using a special microscope.

If you do have inflammation of the choroid, treatment will involve steroid anti-inflammatory drops, oral medications or injected steroids around the eye. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed to address any ongoing infections. Your doctor will also start testing to find the cause of the inflammation so that can be treated, as well.

The best defense against chorioretinitis is regular eye exams, and reporting immediately to an ophthalmologist if you experience any difficulty with your eyes.


Facts about Uveitis. National Eye Institute National Institutes of Health. Web. Nov 29, 2011.

Chorioretinitis. Medscape.com. Web . Nov 29, 2011. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/962761-overview

Chorioretinitis. Mount Sinai Hospital. Web. Nov 29, 2011. http://mountsinai.net/patient-care/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/chorioretinitis

Reviewed November 30, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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