Ebola virus disease survivors and ocular conditions

New Orleans, La. — The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a serious viral hemorrhagic fever with a high fatality rate if treatment and supportive care are unavailable. EVD is transmissible and people can get it from contact with a sick person, deceased person that was infected with the virus, and an infected animal. It was first described in 1976 but the largest outbreak occurred in 2014 - 2016 in West Africa and spread internationally. Survivors of EVD are reported to have a plethora of medical complications including neuro-ophthalmologic ones. This week at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s (ARVO) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., a novel study was conducted to explore these implications further.

Nam Van Nguyen, BS, and Principal Investigator Steven Yeh, MD, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., along with a team of researchers from other U.S. academic institutions, reported the examination findings from EVD survivors from the outbreak of 2014 – 2016. They found neuro-ophthalmologic issues such as motility problems, afferent pupillary defect (APD) and optic nerve disease. They also collected information on the impact of neuro-ophthalmologic findings on visual acuity.

Nguyen pointed out that "ocular complications are common in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) survivors, and they impose a significant burden on the healthcare system in endemic countries.” He then shared that from their results, “although uveitis is the most common complication in EVD survivors, we identified a small subset of EVD survivors with optic nerve disease that demonstrated worse visual acuity with severe vision impairment."

The research presented has received support from the National Eye Institute, National Institute (R01 EY029594), the Macula Society, and the Truhlsen Family Foundation, Inc.

  • Abstract title: Neuro-ophthalmology Implications in a Cohort of Ebola Virus Disease Survivors from the West African Ebola Outbreak, Sierra Leone
  • Presentation start/end time: Tuesday, April 25, 1:15 – 1:30pm CT
  • Location: 344
  • Presentation number: 2902


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

Media contact:
Jenniffer Scherhaufer