How Ebola Turned This Guy’s Eye From Blue To Green

His blood was declared Ebola-free, but the virus remained in his eye!


Researchers said, Ebola virus has been detected for the first time in an eye of a patient months after it vanished from his blood, researchers said. 

Dr. Ian Crozier, an American doctor, was diagnosed with Ebola in September 2014 while working in Sierra Leone with the World Health Organization. He was sent back to the United States to Emory University Hospital’s special Ebola unit in Atlanta, Georgia.

Crozier left the hospital in October when Ebola was no longer detected in his blood, the New England Journal of Medicine reported Thursday. However, two months later he developed an inflammation and high pressure in his left eye. It caused swelling and serious vision problems — and it temporarily turned it from blue to green.

He then returned to the same hospital where he had been treated, and an ophthalmologist, Dr. Steven Yeh, removed some of the fluid and tested it for Ebola. It did in fact contain the virus, but it was not present in his tears or the tissue around his eye.

Doctors believed he did not pose a risk of infecting other people, but Yeh said the case shows that survivors of the deadly virus should be monitored for possible eye infection. It is not known how long this condition can last. The infection caused an inflammation of the inside of his eye. 

Besides the problems with his vision, his iris changed color, going from blue to green 10 days after the symptoms were first detected. After undergoing treatment with a variety of medicines, Crozier began to recover his vision but it is still not complete. But eventually, his eye color returned to its normal hue.

How Ebola Turned This Guy's Eye From Blue To GreenBut the question is, why only one eye was affected?

His doctors could not explain them, and two outside experts were also stumped, particularly when the blue-green shift reversed itself.

I’ve been doing what I do for 40 years and I’ve never seen such a reversibility,” said Dr. C. Stephen Foster, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution.

Usually,  when the eye changes color, it is because a virus has killed pigmented cells in the iris. Before seeing a photograph of Dr. Crozier’s eye, Dr. Foster said,

The only thing I can conceive of in terms of logic, with respect to reversibility, is that the cell, although infected by virus, though not outright killed, is damaged.”

How Ebola Turned This Guy's Eye From Blue To Green

The damage may have led to the change, which then went away when the cells recovered, he suggested. But when Dr. Foster saw the picture of Dr. Crozier’s strangely green eye, he called it “impressive” and abandoned his first theory.

I will say that looking at the overall general structure of the iris itself, it looks awfully healthy“The green color is perfectly homogeneous,” said Dr. Foster.

The evenness of the color made him suspect that some alteration in metabolism in the iris might have produced a chemical that caused the color changes.

But he added, that given the number of Ebola cases, “if this is part and parcel to the infection, one is going to see this repeatedly.”


via News Discovery and New York Times

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