US Pharm. 2015;40(6):36-38.

Researchers reported a case study in which viable Ebola virus was present in the eye’s aqueous humor—the clear fluid in the front of the eye, between the lens and the cornea—10 weeks after the virus was no longer detectable in the patient’s blood. The case study is based on Ebola survivor Ian Crozier, MD. Dr. Crozier and four of the physicians who treated him at Emory University Eye Hospital presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Denver. The case study was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Crozier, an infectious disease specialist, helped in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in August 2014. Within a few weeks, he contracted the disease and was evacuated to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in critical condition.

After he recovered from Ebola virus disease, Dr. Crozier was found to have severe uveitis during his convalescence. Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye, which contains many of the eye’s blood vessels. The resulting swelling can destroy eye tissues, leading to reduced vision and even serious vision loss.

According to Steven Yeh, MD, of the Emory Eye Center, “The presence of viable Ebola virus in the eye could mean that other Ebola survivors may also be at risk for the development of uveitis. The thousands of Ebola survivors in West Africa and health care workers in their home countries will need to be monitored for eye disease in the post-Ebola period.”