Study Links Zika and Glaucoma

Researchers in Brazil and at the Yale School of Public Health have found a link between exposure to the Zika virus in utero and glaucoma—a condition that can cause blindness resulting from permanent damage to the optic nerve. Previous studies identified a connection between Zika—which causes birth defects involving the central nervous system—and lesions in the retina (the back portion of the eye), but this is the first research that shows the virus can cause glaucoma.

A three-month old infant in Brazil who was exposed to Zika during gestation and was born with microcephaly, but showed no signs of glaucoma at birth, subsequently developed the condition. Although this baby is the first known case of glaucoma caused by Zika, doctors treating infants exposed to the virus should monitor for this serious symptom, according to researchers.

More research is needed to determine if Zika causes glaucoma through direct or indirect exposure in utero or after birth. Zika has reached an epidemic in several areas of the world and the World Health Organization recently classified the virus as a "significant and enduring" threat.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

<a href-"https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161130132813.htm" target="_blank">Sourced from: ScienceDaily