Retinitis occurs when viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites invade the retina. The infecting agent travels to the eye via the bloodstream. Rapid and sometimes severe loss of vision may occur. One or both eyes may be involved. Symptoms may also include pain and light sensitivity.
A complete eye examination, including dilation, is necessary to visualize the retina and diagnose retinitis.
In addition, fluorescein angiography is useful to evaluate the severity of the infection and assess retinal, vascular, and optic nerve involvement.
Treatment involves eradicating the infecting organism. Systemic antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals are usually effective.
Occasionally, intravitreal medicine is injected directly into the eye to treat the infection.
Steroids may be recommended to prevent further retinal damage.
With accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, most cases of infectious retinitis maintain or recover useful vision. In severe cases, vision loss may occur and sometimes be permanent.