Ebola Lurked in Patient’s Eye, Turning It From Blue to Green

By Carl Engelking | May 8, 2015 12:52 pm


Doctors are learning that Ebola has a nasty habit of sticking around.

Dr. Ian Crozier, who worked with the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone, thought he had won his life-threatening battle against Ebola in October, but two months later he was back in the hospital complaining of intense eye pain and fading sight.

Doctors discovered the Ebola virus was still living in his eye, and, in a freaky twist, had turned his eye from blue to green.

Crozier’s case serves as a vivid reminder that there’s still much to learn about the virus that has infected more than 26,000 people since December 2013.

Ebola Sticks Around

Our eyeballs are immune-privileged organs, meaning they are protected from the body’s immune system to prevent an inflammatory response that could damage the eye. The central nervous system, gonads and some cartilage also enjoy this privilege. Doctors who treated Crozier report this week in The New England Journal of Medicine that they believe the Ebola virus exploited this loophole to thrive in the eyeball.

Doctors already know that Ebola persists in patients’ bodies even months after they are cured. Ebola can, for example, linger in semen long after a man is symptom-free. Recently, a man spread the virus via sexual intercourse five months after he was released from the hospital.

Survivor Stories

Because prior outbreaks of the disease have been small-scale, scientific knowledge of life after Ebola is limited. In one small study, which was basically a meeting of 20 survivors of the 1995 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, scientists reported that three of the 20 survivors had swelling of the eye lie Crozier, while others reported chronic pain as well as social and psychological struggles. According to the New York Times, the main symptoms seen presently at a clinic for Ebola survivors in Monrovia are chronic pain, headaches and eye trouble.

As doctors continue to treat and save Ebola sufferers we’ll no doubt learn more about the long-term consequences of the disease.

For now, we’re happy to report that Crozier’s eye was healed and, with antiviral treatment, his vision, and blue eye color, were restored.


Photo credits: Eye: samsonovs/Shutterstock; Ebola virus: CDC Global/Flickr

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Ebola has a nasty habit of sticking around.” We must import into America as many Ebola patients as possible to create chronic academic, medical, and social advocacy industries to bolster the economy. HIV/AIDS is such a vital cornerstone (Federal $18.5 billion in fiscal year 2016), but remains largely isolated within heteronormative clades (0.3% of the overall population). Ebola could strike everybody, fueling unlimited economic expansion.

    • Sieben Stern

      *adjusts his tin foil hat*
      there. I think you’ll feel better now.

    • John Gallien

      I think you are making fun of the fallacious economic arguments that WWII got us out of the Great Depression, or the argument that a broken store window helps the economy since the store owner has to pay for it to be repaired – and hence the window repairing company is enriched and has money to spend on products or services from other companies, and so on. Both arguments neglect the fact that if we didn’t spend the money on bombs and tanks, or windows, we would be spending it on other things that we need in our daily lives or investing it in businesses that make our lives better. Of course, FDR prolonged the Great Depression but spending it on numerous public works projects (a dead end once the projects are completed) rather than allowing American citizens and industry to invest it themselves – see “Meltdown – A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse” by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

      • Gerald Wonnacott

        Revisionist history…

        • John Gallien

          True – a revision of the tired old incorrect left-wing history that the free market (that is, freedom!) causes depressions; as opposed to government inflation of the money supply via the Federal Reserve which causes disallocation of resources, onerous government regulations that stifle growth and innovation, high corporate tax rates that make it difficult for new businesses to challenge entrenched businesses (you need to accumulate profits to invest in your business in order to expand), and a myriad of other hindrances the government puts in the way of business activity that stifle growth. Yes, revisionist history – a revision of the lies statists would have us believe so they can keep their cushy political positions because they don’t have the ability to earn their way in the free market. They have been aptly called “second-handers” because they get their power and wealth by manipulating people, rather than dealing with the facts of reality (nature) to create wealth….so, “revisionist history” is not an argument with any intellectual content – it is the equivalent of name-calling….no thought required.

          • Gerald Wonnacott

            I agree with some of your arguments, but recent history demonstrates that overall you are are not correct in all of your assertions… We could argue endlessly about free markets, exploitation, resource allocation, regulation, and more… My own experience has been with the success of “Silicon Valley” which was built by vibrant competition, open markets, but also through more “left” ideas of employee added value, sharing success, creating wealth for the community. Revisionist history can be a catchall with little content, but in this case those two words captured the gist of the original commenters flawed arguments.

          • John Gallien

            True – a company with totally new technology can make it big – those are primarily the only ones that do. Challenging a company in a mature industry, unless your replace it with totally new technology, is much more difficult due to our tax laws. And yes, employers are being more open minded about their benefits and work environment – this is the free market working. What I would object to would be to take any one company’s policies and make them mandatory across the board. An example: health care. Not only do all employers of a certain size have to offer health care, but the types of coverage, even when it doesn’t make sense for many of their employees, are mandated, increasing health care costs. In addition, healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated industries, etc. etc. People look at Capitalism (the free market) and believe its essence is competition. It is not. Competition is one of the consequences which happens to lead to better and lower priced products. Granted, an important consequence. Capitalism’s essence is that it is a system that spontaneously comes into being when individual rights are respected and protected by a proper government. It is a system based on individual rights.

      • Geo

        The money that FDA spent on public works could not have been invested by private citizens or industry because it didn’t exist – he basically “created” it by using deficit spending. Spending this “created” money as he did 1) kept people from starving, 2) gave them something productive to do (instead of thieving because they were starving or just idly dying), and 3) improved or created infastructure throughout the US, much of which is still in use today. Totally positive results in my opinion.

        • John Gallien

          Sure – when analyzed separately, and out of context, from all the deleterious consequences that the New Deal brought, including extending the Great Depression and unemployment, you can come up with some good outcomes. The problem is that government programs are wasteful to the extreme because they don’t have the natural feedback loop that the free market has. Government bureaucrats and politicians can arbitrarily come up with programs using the taxpayers’ money and if it fails, there are no consequences to them personally; but for the economy, it is a loss. The free market does not allow continuous failure from any person or company because they run out of resources (money, wealth) to use. On the other hand, to the degree that a person or company is successful in the free market, this allows them to expand and create more jobs. Therefore, failure equals less influence, success equals more. This simple fact of economic reality is severed when government bureaucrats and politicians get involved. Success and failure have no consequences; and even to the contrary, failure often leads to more wasteful government programs. (Note: to be successful in the free market means that you have to have a product or service that people want and will pay for based on their own independent judgement.)
          Another aspect of your comment is that the money was created by deficit spending. It was created by issuing government bonds that are sold, which takes money out of the economy in order to purchase the government bonds. So, this leaves less for people to invest in more fruitful endeavors.

  • Chi

    Sometimes, what one consumes, can change the eye color–but at least that is related to improving one’s health.
    What other diseases can change eye color?
    If/when ebola sequesters in eye tissue, can it migrate to and destroy the brain? Over what time-frame? Would that be like slow-acting Spongiform Encephalitis?

  • Macintosh Chea

    Praise God, that doctor crozier’s have received his sight…hope that this virus leave our country totally recently the world health organization declared my country Liberia,ebola free hearing this news bring back some psychological memories.

  • The hilander

    I don’t feel sorry for this idiot. He wanted to help people nobody can help.

  • Virginia Dea Harrington

    Ebola’s post attack areas remind me of a Shingles and post-herpetic experience that covered the left side of my face and head, threatening my eye and ear. Luckily, scars and migraines are all that remained.

    • OldRed

      If no one risked their lives treating Ebola in Africa more would be at risk when it got out of hand over here. The first virus of that family the Marburg virus was found in Marburg Germany. Consider what might have happened if this strain of Ebola that didn’t kill so quickly had made it way to the slums of Jamaica, Brazil or India or the back waters of Burma or India before it was noticed.. Places it could run wild before any aide could get there or anyone noticed.

      Possible planted by terrorist.

      Fortunately Shingles aren’t very bad for me. I have had them 4 times. The time they started on my face I took the anti-viral drug.

      On the other hand Migraine’s every day at 3:05 p.m. were extremely annoying. Fortunately the pain was bearable and only lasted 3 or 4 hours and I could work though it. Anything that helped the Migraine kept me from programing. I was on a job I felt I had to complete on time. I completed the job or the job finished me. Anyway it worked on time.

      There are a long list of drugs that will prevent Migraines. If they interfere with your life find one that works. You just start down the list until you find one that works with side effects you can stand.


    • Overburdened_Planet

      How are your migraines associated with shingles/post-herpetic experience?

      Have you tried supplementing with magnesium for migraines or tried other supplements and methods?

      Diabetics are magnesium deficient, and as we age, the body’s ability to absorb magnesium decreases and the excretion of magnesium increases.

      Magnesium may also help with sleep, muscle cramps, and many other ailments.

      • Virginia Dea Harrington

        Thanks for response and I have been taking magnesium for many years for other issues. The migraines are partially the result of damage inflicted on the 5th cranial nerve (left side of head) referred to as neuropathy. Appreciate your input.

        • Overburdened_Planet

          Okay, sorry to learn it’s not operable, or if operable, not affordable.

          Reminds me of a woman I met who was serving demo food at a grocery store.

          She had a severely deformed wrist due to falling while an Associated Press reporter somewhere in Africa.

          Her wrist didn’t properly heal, and dropped off an inch at nearly a 90º angle before continuing on to her hand.

          She was eating ibuprofen like candy and couldn’t afford to pay for corrective surgery.

  • David Auner

    A big omission in this article is whether this man received blood products from a healed person or not. I would like more definition on the “anti-viral treatment” for his eye.

    • LA Coleman

      Steroids and an experimental drug.

      • David Auner

        plasma from a survivor/essentially gamma globulin like used to treat children exposed to polio in the 50’s, seems to be a better bet. Time will tell.


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