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Located on North Main Street across from the Va. Tech campus

Located on North Main Street across from the Va. Tech campus

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CMV Retinitis

CMV retinitis signs and symptoms

AIDS patients sometimes also experience changes to the retina and optic nerve without clear signs of CMV retinitis.

What causes CMV retinitis?

CMV retinitis is caused by the cytomegalovirus, which is a very common virus. About 80% of adults harbor antibodies to CMV, which indicates their bodies have successfully fought it off. The difference for people who have AIDS is that their weakened or non-functioning immune system cannot stave off this virus. Other people with a weakened or suppressed immune system, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant, are also at risk of CMV retinitis.

How is CMV retinitis treated?

If you have active AIDS and are experiencing visual symptoms, you should see a retina specialist immediately. A person newly-diagnosed with CMV retinitis can expect to visit the specialist every two to four weeks.

Once the disease is controlled, the retina specialist may recommend follow-up visits with your regular eye doctor every three to six months.

Drugs for CMV retinitis. Anti-viral drugs commonly used to treat CMV retinitis are ganciclovir (Cytovene), foscarnet (Foscavir) and cidofovir (Vistide). These medications can slow down the progression of CMV, but they can’t cure it. These potent anti-viral drugs can also cause unpleasant or serious side effects.

Ganciclovir is available in a pill, used following two weeks of intravenous infusion, and also in an implant called Vitrasert. The implant releases medication directly into the eye, so it doesn’t cause the side effects experienced with intravenous infusion or with the pill.

Drugs for HIV. The biggest breakthrough in AIDS treatment is highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a combination of drugs that suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), also known as the AIDS virus. HAART allows your immune system to recover and fight off infections like CMV retinitis.

AIDS is a serious global health problem. If you have AIDS, are HIV positive or have a compromised immune system from other causes, see your eye doctor frequently to rule out CMV retinitis and to discuss the latest treatment options if a CMV-related eye problem is detected.

Protecting our Patients from Coronavirus Disease Outbreak

Making sure our patients and staff are safe is our top priority. We know many patients are concerned about the spread of Coronavirus.

Our Promise to Our Patients:

We understand the obvious concern that coronavirus has brought to the area. We want to make you aware of the steps we are taking to protect our patients and team members in this time of uncertainty.

We request the following of patients:

  1. If you have traveled in the last 14 days to a country other than the U.S. where coronavirus has been diagnosed, or to any area in this country that has had a number of cases of concern (eg, Seattle, DC-NY metro area, parts of CA, etc…) please call the office to reschedule your appointment for next month or beyond.
  2. If you have any symptoms that mimic that of the coronavirus, which includes a fever or respiratory symptoms, including a cough, please call and reschedule your appointment at least 14 days from now.
  3. If you suspect that you have had direct contact with people who have been around any of the people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, please call us to reschedule your visit beyond 14 days from now.
  4. Remember to follow basic hygiene guidelines to avoid the spread of germs, which includes washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

Our staff will also follow these guidelines and will not be present at work if they exhibit any of the above-mentioned symptoms:

  1. Any eye doctor or team member who is sick is staying home
  2. We sanitize every piece of equipment after each use and again at the end of the day (as part of our precautions we always adhere to).
  3. We will sanitize all patient contact surfaces between every patient.
  4. Our team washes their hands often throughout the day
  5. If we don’t shake hands with our patients during this time, please don’t take it personally.
  1. Please call us with any questions or concerns, and if you feel it best for you or your family member to reschedule your appointment, feel free to do so.
  2. We do expect this to be an ongoing situation in our area for an extended period of time, and do not want our patients to neglect their eye care needs during this time. We will continue to give recommendations based on the evidence we have on safe delivery of eye care in a time of uncertainty.

For the most up-to-date information on treatments, FAQs, news and more, please visit the following official health organizations:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov

World Health Organization (WHO) at www.WHO.int

Thank you for helping us to protect all of our patients.

Drs. Jacobs, Steckenrider and Staff