Zika Virus and the Eye

Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2018;26(5):654-659. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2017.1294184. Epub 2017 Mar 20.


Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, is the latest global health concern. Transmission is mainly via Aedes mosquitoes and the infection can be diagnosed on molecular or serologic testings. It typically causes a mild self-remitting illness of low-grade fever, maculopapular rash, and myalgia, but when severe, it is associated with neurological deficits and congenital structural defects. Ocular manifestations are usually mild like nonpurulent conjunctivitis in adults, though it may be linked to uveitis, maculopathy, and hypertensive iridocyclitis. Ocular signs seem to be more significant in congenital ZIKV-macular pigment mottling, neuroretinal atrophy with macular involvement, iris coloboma, and changes in retinal vasculature are noted in infants with infected mothers. Risk factors include ZIKV infection in first trimester and smaller cephalic diameter at birth. Hence, ophthalmic examination in newborns is now recommended. Currently, prevention and active surveillance are integral as there is no known vaccine, and treatment is only symptomatic.

Keywords: Ocular surface; Zika virus; tears.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Eye Infections, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Eye Infections, Viral / virology
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Zika Virus / genetics*
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology*
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology