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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a type of virus that attacks the immune system of human beings and weakens the body’s ability to fight against diseases and infections and it results in a disease called AIDS. When HIV gets into a person’s body system, the person lives with it for life because the virus cannot be completely neutralised, even with treatment. However, with the required medical care, the virus can be put under control.

How HIV affects eyesight

People living with HIV can develop eye problems that are not common among healthy people. Eye problems are usually the first symptoms of the onset of the disease. People with a weaker immune system can become blind from eye diseases if prompt treatment is not administered. Some HIV-related eye diseases include:

HIV retinopathy:

This is the most common eye problem among people living with HIV and it affects the blood vessels of the retina. These blood vessels are very tiny and can either get blocked or bleed, resulting in damages that can affect the eyes. The aftereffect of the bleeding is a condition called cotton-wool spots, which appear in the retina.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis: 

This is another retinal eye condition among people living with HIV. If not treated on time, it can cause the retina to be detached from the back of the eye, which can cause complete visual loss.

Kaposi’s sarcoma: 

This is an uncommon growth that occurs in the eyes of people living with HIV. It is red or purple in colour and forms either on the white part of the eye or the eyelid, which will affect the person’s ability to see well.

The person living with HIV can prevent the above-listed eye conditions by making a conscious effort to maintain a very healthy immune system. The person can achieve this by taking antiviral drug treatments as recommended, having routine eye examinations, and embracing a healthy diet. We also recommend that if you notice any worrisome eye symptoms, see your eye doctor immediately for proper tests and treatment. You can contact us for more eye health information.