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What about HIV in the tears?
While the HIV virus can be found in tears of people with AIDS, no cases of AIDS have ever been reported from tear contact. Ophthalmologists are especially careful in cleaning their lenses and instruments which come in contact with the tears.
How does AIDS affect the eye?
- Cotton Wool Spots: The most common eye problem from AIDS doesn’t threaten vision. Your eye has an inner layer called the retina, which sends images to the brain and helps us see. AIDS can cause tiny amounts of bleeding and white spots in the retina. These white spots are called “cotton wool spots” because of the way they look.
- CMV Retinitis: A serious eye infection of the retina is caused by CMV, the Cytomegalovirus (CMV). About 20–30% of people with AIDS have CMV. Most infections happen when the number of T–cells gets dangerously low, usually under 40. CMV can harm your vision permanently. Call an ophthalmologist right away if you see:
- Floating spots or “Spiderwebs”.
- Flashing lights.
- Blind spots or blurred vision.
- Red Eye: People with AIDS sometimes have red eyes, infections which last for a long time. A disease called shingles can occur more commonly in people with HIV.
- Detached Retina: Sometimes CMV causes the retina to separate from the back of the eye. A detached retina can cause a serious vision loss. The only way to attach it again is to have an eye operation.
- Kaposi’s Sarcoma: Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a kind of tumor that looks like purple–red spots. In the eyes, it can look like a bump on the eyelid or a spot on the white part of the eye. KS can look frightening, but it grows slowly and does not harm the eye.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. It is sometimes called “Lazy eye”. When one eye develops good vision while the other does not, the eye with poorer vision is called Amblyopic. Usually, only one eye is affected by amblyopia. The condition is common, affecting approximately 2 or 3 out of every 100 people. The best time to correct amblyopia is during infancy or early childhood. Parents must be aware of this potential problem if they want to protect their child’s vision.