Doctors have been studying babies born with the infamous Zika virus and any birth defect possibly related to the infection.
Some are reporting to have found previously undocumented eye problems possibly linked to the virus. Researchers have observed retinal lesions, hemorrhaging, and abnormal blood vessel development in three Brazilian infants with microcephaly caused by Zika.
It is estimated that 1.5 million people are infected with the virus, and that upwards of 4,000 babies have been born with microcephaly as a result. In February, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency in Brazil, and has been urging for more research to be focused on the virus.
A previous study focused on 29 babies born with the virus, and found that nearly a third of them had congenital eye problems, including ocular lesions, optic nerve abnormalities and chorioretinal atrophy.
A new follow-up study has been conducted, this time with just three infant boys as subjects. The babies, born in late 2015 to mothers infected with the Zika virus, presented several eye problems not previously seen in conjunction with the disease.
Hemorrhagic Retinopathy - Bleeding in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells lining the back of the eye.
Abnormal Vasculature – Irregular blood vessels in the retina, including signs of missing blood vessels where the cells may have died.
Torpedo maculopathy - Cone-shaped lesions in the macula, the central portion of the retina.
The babies also showed signs of other issues that had been previously documented, such as pigmentary maculopathy, specks of pigment in the macula, and chorioretinal atrophy, a dark ring of pigment around the retina.
While the study was very small in scale, it adds to the growing amount of information that medical science in collecting on the Zika virus. The scientists working on the matter are now focusing on making a determination between symptoms caused by the virus itself, and those caused by microcephaly, the condition most commonly associated with Zika.