Systemic viral infections and their retinal and choroidal manifestations

Surv Ophthalmol. Mar-Apr 1993;37(5):313-52. doi: 10.1016/0039-6257(93)90064-e.


Viruses are one of the most common causes of infections involving the posterior segment of the eye. Such infections can occur either on a congenital or an acquired basis, and may affect primarily the retina or the choroid. Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) and rubella infections may result in retinitis. CMV retinitis is also the most common cause of acquired viral retinitis, primarily because of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Other types of viral retinitis, such as those caused by herpes simplex or herpes zoster, can occur in immunocompromised or immunocompetent individuals. Retinitis or choroiditis caused by viruses such as measles, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, and Rift Valley fever virus, typically occurs subsequent to an acute viral systemic illness. The systemic and ocular manifestations, as well as the histopathology, laboratory tests, differential diagnoses, and treatment regimens for each of the individual viruses are discussed in detail.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chickenpox / diagnosis
  • Chickenpox / therapy
  • Choroiditis / diagnosis
  • Choroiditis / microbiology*
  • Choroiditis / therapy
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / pathology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eye Infections, Viral* / diagnosis
  • Fundus Oculi
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / therapy
  • HIV-1
  • Herpes Zoster / diagnosis
  • Herpes Zoster / therapy
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / therapy
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / diagnosis
  • Influenza, Human / therapy
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / diagnosis
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / drug therapy
  • Retinitis / diagnosis
  • Retinitis / microbiology*
  • Retinitis / therapy