Measles Can Cause Vision Loss
Measles have been in the news a lot in the past year. This disease wasn’t much more than a blip on the radar of most American parents until recent years, when thousands of people decided not to vaccinate for fear of autism and other problems rumored to be linked to vaccinations. The outbreaks of measles have caught many states unprepared, and many parents as well.
Measles can causes many health problems. One of the biggest problems is vision loss in children. Experts warn that even before the telltale skin rash appears, the infection typically shows up in the eyes. In rare cases, measles can trigger long-term vision problems and even blindness. Measles causes up to 60,000 cases of blindness worldwide each year, according to a survey published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Most of those blinded by the infection are in developing nations where vitamin A deficiency is common.
Sometimes measles infection damages or destroys cells in the retina. The retina, which lines the back of the eye, senses light and sends signals to the brain. In rare cases, the virus even damages the optic nerve.