Early Diagnosis Can Prevent Blindness

Eye infections are serious diseases that are widespread worldwide and can lead to a significant risk of permanent blindness. Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis and keratitis, can be caused by parasitic, bacterial and viral pathogens.  

Common pathogens of eye infections include Chlamydia trachomatis, Adenovirus and Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 (HSV-2). 

Herpes Virus and Blindness 

The Herpes Virus (HSV), which is commonly associated with blisters around the mouth, can also infect the eye and when infection occurs, it can cause contagious and dangerous HSV Keratitis. Left untreated, HSV Keratitis can lead to blindness. In 2016, 1.6 million patients were diagnosed with HSV Keratitis, and 230,000 patients worldwide suffered vision loss as a result. People who have been previously diagnosed with HSV Keratitis are at high risk of recurrence due to the nature of the viral pathogen. Contact lens use is among the reasons that increase the risk of infection. 

Adenoviruses and Human Herpes Viruses 

Other viral agents that can cause vision loss are Adenoviruses and other human Herpes viruses.

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a type of human herpes virus, can cause blindness if it infects the eye.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) causes no symptoms in healthy people, but can cause infection, especially in people who are immunocompromised by another disease. For example, HIV-positive individuals have a high incidence of viral CMV retinitis. Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV), known for causing chickenpox and shingles, can cause intense painful eye discomfort. Although eye infections caused by VZV can occur at any age, they are more common in the elderly. 

Bacterial Trachoma 

Bacterial Trachoma, an ocular infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, is a major public health problem in many parts of the world. It is the most common preventable cause of blindness and can lead to corneal opacity and blindness. Trachoma can be spread by sharing personal belongings, by flies encountering the infected person’s eyes or nose, or by direct contact with the eye with fingers. If ignored, repeated Chlamydia trachomatis infections of the eye can cause permanent scarring on the inside of the eyelid and loss of vision. 

Diagnostic Tests for Eye Infections 

It is important to detect infections with sensitive tests to protect eye health and to quickly control possible diseases. Diagnostic methods can utilise non-intrusive sampling methods such as tears and swabs. Compared to a blood sample, these samples are small in volume and can give results with methods such as Real-Time PCR, which work with high reliability even with a small volume. 

The Bosphore Eye Infection Panel Kit from Anatolia Geneworks is an in-vitro diagnostic kit based on Real-Time PCR that detects and characterises the presence of HSV-1, HSV-2, VZV, CMV, EBV, Adenovirus and Chlamydia trachomatis in eye swab, ocular fluid and conjunctival specimen 

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