3 Things You Need To Know About Acute Retinal Necrosis


Acute retinal necrosis is a serious inflammatory eye condition characterized by inflammation of the retina and necrosis (death) of the retina. This condition can lead to blindness, but fortunately, it can be treated. Here are three things you need to know about acute retinal necrosis.

What are the symptoms?

If you develop acute retinal necrosis, you'll notice that one of your eyes is red. Pain around the eye socket is another possible symptom. In addition to pain and redness, your vision may become hazy or blurred. New floaters may appear in your vision, and you may notice that it's harder for you to distinguish colors.

If you notice some or all of these symptoms, see your optometrist immediately for an examination. Your optometrist will dilate your pupil and examine your retina with a microscope. Under magnification, your optometrist will be able to identify whitening of the retina or inflammation of its blood vessels.

What causes acute retinal necrosis?

Acute retinal necrosis has been linked to viral infections. In patients younger than 25, the virus responsible is generally herpes simplex type 2, while in patients older than 25, the varicella-zoster (chickenpox) virus and herpes simplex virus type 1 are the most common culprits. What these viruses have in common is that they can become dormant in your body and reactivate later. If the virus reactivates in your retina, acute retinal necrosis can develop.

How is it treated?

The main treatment for acute retinal necrosis is acyclovir, an antiviral drug that is used to treat herpes and shingles. This drug is given intravenously every eight hours for a period of five to 10 days. To try to prevent a recurrence in your other eye, you'll need to take oral acyclovir five times a day for the next six to 12 weeks.

Once you've been treated, your optometrist will need to continue to monitor you. This is because as many as 52% of patients will experience a retinal detachment within six months of receiving treatment. Retinal detachment means that your retina pulls away from the back of your eye; if its not re-attached in time, your retina could die, leading to blindness in the affected eye. Fortunately, your vision can be saved as long as the condition is diagnosed and treated early.

If you experience pain or redness in one of your eyes, or changes in your vision, don't ignore them. These symptoms could be clues that you have acute retinal necrosis, a sight-threatening eye disease. See professionals like Las Vegas Family Eye Care ASAP.


3 January 2016