ABOUT OCULAR TOXOPLASMOSIS
Ocular toxoplasmosis is a disease that is caused by an infection with the protozoan (unicellular) parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. When the parasite infects the retina, it can cause inflammation and/or scarring that can lead to impaired vision. These symptoms can be short or long term; typically patients will experience blurry vision or floaters. Eye floaters are spots within the field of vision. When the microscopic fibers in the jelly-like vitreous clump up, it casts tiny shadows on the retina resulting in the appearance of black or gray specks. In many cases, individuals with toxoplasmosis display no signs or symptoms and are often unaware of the infection. Our board-certified retina specialist, Dr. Shalesh Kaushal, offers the latest treatment options for those suffering from this disease. Call or visit Comprehensive Retina Consultants in Ocala, FL to schedule an appointment today.
OCULAR TOXOPLASMOSIS CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
Ocular toxoplasmosis can either be acquired or congenital. With acquired toxoplasmosis, the parasite is usually transmitted when coming into contact with an infected animal. It can also be contracted by consuming raw meat. Household cats are often carriers as the parasite lives within the animal’s intestinal tract and can be present within the feces. Regular visits to the veterinarian are key in maintaining your and your pet’s health. Specific testing and antibiotics like clindamycin or sulfadiazine can help treat T. gondii. It’s also important to practice proper hygiene like washing hands after cleaning out a cat’s litter box or handling raw meat. Congenital ocular toxoplasmosis occurs when the disease is passed from mother to child during pregnancy.
Common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Presence of floaters
- Mild fever
- Sore throat
- General discomfort or feelings of illness
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Skin rash
- Swollen glands
OCULAR TOXOPLASMOSIS DIAGNOSIS
The diagnosis of ocular toxoplasmosis is typically made by an ophthalmologist during a comprehensive eye exam. Routine checkups are essential as they allow for signs and symptoms to be detected earlier than later. Blood tests are also commonly performed to check for the presence of T. gondii.
OCULAR TOXOPLASMOSIS TREATMENT AND PROGNOSIS
In many cases, treatment is not necessary as the disease commonly clears up on its own. For those with mild to severe symptoms, antibiotics such as pyrimethamine or sulfadiazine are prescribed to reduce inflammation of the retina. Corticosteroids or medicated eye drops may also be administered to improve symptoms. Typically, there is an incubation period of 1 – 2 weeks before a patient recognizes signs of toxoplasma, but the recovery period with treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection. The majority of patients experience a favorable prognosis.
TREAT OCULAR TOXOPLASMOSIS
Our Florida practice offers several treatment options for those with ocular toxoplasmosis that can put you on track for a better prognosis. Dr. Kaushal and our team are dedicated to providing you with the best care possible and look forward to helping you feel better. Call our front office today to set up an appointment.