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How does Toxoplasma affect the eyes?

Dr. Louis B. Cantor, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Toxoplasma infection is usually caused by ingesting the germ from animal feces, uncooked meats, or raw vegetables. Cooking kills the germ. When a pregnant woman becomes infected the germ can be transferred to the baby and among other problems may infect the eye.

When the eye is infected the back of the eye in the retina is most often involved. The infection results in scarring in the retina which can interfere with vision depending upon which area of the retina is infected and how severe the infection may be.

The germ often becomes inactive but can remain in the eye in a dormant state where it is “asleep”. Many years later the infection can begin again, usually along one of the edges of the previous scar. Antibiotics and steroid medications can be used to treat the infection.

Dr. Michael X. Repka
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

If you have Toxoplasmosis in one eye and you wear contact lenses, there is a small risk of damage to the good eye—the eye that did not experience Toxoplasmosis. The more important thing is that the use of contact lenses removes the protection for the good eye that glasses provide. For that reason patients are typically counseled not to wear contact lenses if they have severe Toxoplasmosis in one eye and one good eye.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.