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Chorioretinitis is an inflammation of the choroid and retina, two critical parts of the eye. This condition requires treatment managed by an ophthalmologist, and can cause long term complications, including scarring which interferes with vision. There are a number of potential causes for a patient to develop chorioretinitis, and some patients may be more at risk than others. Patients who are at risk should take special care to monitor their vision, so that they can identify signs of emerging problems early.
This condition classically emerges in immunocompromised patients, such as people living with AIDS. Young children and elderly adults can also be at risk because their immune systems may not be as capable of fighting off infection. Chorioretinitis occurs when an ongoing infection manages to reach the choroid and retina. Toxoplasmosis, syphilis, and cytomegalovirus are common culprits, although other types of infections can also cause chorioretinitis.
The retina is a light sensitive area in the eye, while the choroid is the retina's vascular backing. Patients with inflammation in their retinas and choroids tend to experience blurry vision, and they may develop black spots in their vision. If chorioretinitis reaches the macula, the patient can experience even more severe vision problems. This condition can be diagnosed with a physical examination and patient interview, in which the doctor can identify potential risk factors for chorioretinitis. Testing can also be conducted to determine which infectious agent is responsible for the chorioretinitis, as this may influence the choice of medications used in treatment.
Treatment involves administration of antibiotics to kill the infection, and corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation. If chorioretinitis is appearing as a complication of another disease or disorder such as AIDS or an autoimmune disease, treatment can also involve an adjustment to the patient's overall treatment plan. In many cases, the patient experiences a full recovery, with no lasting vision problems. In others, scarring can occur, causing spots or blurred vision in the long term, especially if the inflammation reached the macula.
People at all levels of health should be aware of emerging eye problems. If people experience vision changes such as blurred vision, floaters, and spots, they should make an appointment with an eye doctor for an examination and a discussion of the situation. Neglecting eye problems can result in serious complications including vision impairment or even vision loss. The earlier treatment is provided, the lower the risk of complications, and the less expensive and time consuming the treatment will be.