Toxoplasmosis: new challenges for an old disease

Eye (Lond). 2012 Feb;26(2):241-4. doi: 10.1038/eye.2011.331. Epub 2012 Jan 6.


More than a century after the identification of Toxoplasma gondii, major issues need to be addressed for the optimal management of ocular disease. Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis is the main cause of posterior uveitis in several geographical areas. The parasite establishes a love-hate relationship with the eye, manipulating the immune response and inducing variable initial lesions and further relapses. It is now well established that most cases are acquired after birth and not congenital. The severity of the disease is mainly due to the parasite genotype and the host immune status. Diagnosis is based on clinical features, but may be confirmed by biological tools applied to ocular fluids. Combining several techniques improves the diagnostic yield in equivocal cases. Therapeutic management is the most important challenge. Even though evidence-based data on the efficacy of anti-parasitic drugs are still missing, new strategies with a good safety profile are available and may be proposed earlier during the course of the disease, but also in selected cases, to reduce sight-threatening relapses. Revisiting the therapeutic options and indications may be an important step towards long-term maintenance of the visual function and avoidance of major complications.

MeSH terms

  • Antiparasitic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chorioretinitis / diagnosis
  • Chorioretinitis / epidemiology
  • Chorioretinitis / parasitology*
  • Chorioretinitis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Toxoplasma / pathogenicity
  • Toxoplasmosis, Ocular* / diagnosis
  • Toxoplasmosis, Ocular* / epidemiology
  • Toxoplasmosis, Ocular* / therapy


  • Antiparasitic Agents