Chorioretinitis is characterized by inflammation in the eye of the choroid and retina. The retina is the light sensitive layer of the inner eye which acts like film in a camera and then sends signals to the visual parts of the brain so we can see. The choroid is the vascular lining which works to supply the retina with oxygen and other nutrients. Inflammation of the choroid and retina can result in blindness if not treated properly. Chorioretinitis is caused by current infections or autoimmune diseases or even infections a person had when they were young. Symptoms may not appear for 10-20 years. Chorioretinitis risk factors include having an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis or sarcoidosis. A history of certain infections such as syphilis, tuberculosis, congenital rubella, congenital CMV or West Nile virus may increase the risk of developing chorioretinitis. Individuals with a weakened immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, may also be at an increased risk.
Symptoms of chorioretinitis include blurry vision, eye irritation and or redness, sensitivity to light, overproduction of tears, sensation of sparks or flashes of light, and the appearance of black spots obstructing vision. Diagnosis can be made by having a complete eye exam and blood tests in some cases. Treatment options may vary depending on the underlying cause but may include antibiotics, steroids for eye inflammation, and more. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with chorioretinitis, talk with your eye specialist about the most current treatment options.