Ocular complications of HIV infection in sub-Sahara Africa

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2008 Aug;5(3):120-5. doi: 10.1007/s11904-008-0019-z.


This article reviews the magnitude and spectrum of ocular complications of HIV infection in sub-Sahara Africa. A literature search was done using PubMed, Google, and UpToDate and by talking to ophthalmologists and HIV experts working in the region. Ocular complications of HIV infection, mostly retinal, are seen in 29% to 71% of patients. Cytomegalovirus retinitis affects 0% to 16.5% of HIV-infected patients and is treated successfully with intravitreal ganciclovir in South Africa and Botswana. Ocular surface squamous neoplasia is seen in 4% to 7.8% of persons with HIV (a 5%-6% increase in Uganda and Tanzania), and recurrence after surgery occurs in 3.2% to 31.2%. In Zimbabwe, 45% of meningitis in adults is cryptococcal, and cryptococcal meningitis is the third leading cause of death in HIV patients in rural Uganda. In Rwanda, 9% of patients with cryptococcal meningitis developed visual loss and sixth nerve palsy. Thus, HIV infection leads to significant ocular morbidity in sub-Sahara Africa.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / complications
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis / complications
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / complications*
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Neoplasms / complications
  • Eye Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / complications
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / epidemiology