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Early HIV Visual Changes (Revised)

Mar 28, 2001

Dr. Holodniy, Thank you for posting my viewpoint a few weeks ago. I have since done more research and have subsequently revised my hypothesis.

OBSERVATION: A large percentage of recently infected HIV patients develop cobweb-type floaters.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Collagen Type II (also called cartilage collagen) is found in joints, eyes, & the inner ear. This collagen is probably affected by the inflammatory response to HIV. Expert research documents the following: There is evidence of cross-link formation of vitreous collagen during experimental ocular inflammation. Separate documentation records that mutations in Collagen Type II can cause abnormalities of the skeleton and eye.

HYPOTHESIS: There is a link between HIV infection and the formation of dense collagen fibers within the vitreous humor.

ASSOCIATED CASE: Initial HIV symptoms occurred approx. 14 days post exposure. On-set included genital ulcers, truncal rash, night sweats, nausea, and painful lymphnoids. Resolution of initial symptoms occurred approximately 2 weeks later followed by a 4-month duration of migratory myalgias and arthralgia. As muscle and joint pains resided, developed sudden on-set of cobweb-like floaters in both eyes. Ohthalmologists unable to determine specific cause; eyes noted as otherwise healthy.

QUESTION: Have you observed HIV patients with these cobweb-like floaters? Any other comments on this issue are greatly appreciated.

DISCLAIMER: Floaters are usually nonspecific developments and can be a common part of the aging process.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Many known HIV chronically infected patients describe floaters. I am not aware of this happening, nor have I seen it reported in acute infection

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