Archive for the ‘Eye Issues’ Category

How Lyme Disease Can Affect Your Vision

TOUCHED BY LYME: How Lyme disease can affect your vision

Aug. 4, 2021

Dr. William Padula is a noted expert on how Lyme and other tick-borne diseases can affect the eyes.

According to his website, the following can all be symptoms of tick-borne illness: blur, visual fatigue, double vision, headaches associated with visual activities, light sensitivity, losing place when reading, seeing words appear to double or become double when reading, and more obscure problems often not associated with vision such as difficulty with balance, spatial orientation, memory, comprehension, feeling of being overwhelmed by being in a busy environment, and sensitivity to sound.

The website notes: “The cause of the visual symptoms is because the tick-borne disease affects visual processing in the brain.”

Recently, Dr. Padula has discovered two eye-related biomarkers for tick-borne infection. (A biomarker is something that can be found by examination or testing that indicates the presence of a particular disease or condition.)

In an article published by Healio, Dr. Padula reports:

“My colleagues and I have demonstrated that the presence of a hazy, white ring of peri-papillary ischemia around the optic nerve — especially in children or adults younger than 60 years who would not be expected to have ischemic changes — is associated with tick-borne infection. One way that spirochetes hide from the immune system is by building up protective biofilms. We believe that these biofilms clog the narrow capillary vessels just around the perimeter of the optic nerve, blocking blood flow.”

Dr. Padula recommends that optometrists and ophthalmologists who observe this condition in patients who also have convergence insufficiency or focusing should rule out the possibility of tick-borne infection.

In the same article, Dr. Padula also discusses something called the Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) test. He says that abnormal results on this test strongly indicate tick-borne disease.

As we in the Lyme community know well, it often takes a long time for people to get properly diagnosed with tick-borne infections. If eye doctors become alert to these biomarkers, that could speed up the process considerably.

Click here to read the article on Healio.

Click here to visit Dr. Padula’s website

TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland,’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at


For more:

Did Untreated Bartonella Steal Her Eyesight? At 91, She Still Wonders

Did untreated Bartonella steal her eyesight? At 91, she still wonders.

Lyme Disease Can Impact Your Vision’s “Contrast Sensitivity”

By Lonnie Marcum

March 30, 2021

LYME SCI: Lyme disease can impact your vision’s “contrast sensitivity”

Bartonella, Retinitis & BRAO in 13 Year Old Boy

Branch retinal artery occlusion secondary to Bartonella henselae infection in a 13 year-old


Free PMC article


Purpose: To summarize the case of a 13 year-old boy diagnosed with a BRAO (branches of retinal vein become blocked) secondary to B. henselae infection.

Observations: The patient presented with a sudden, unilateral, and painless scotoma (interruption in the visual field or blind spot). Fundoscopic findings and multimodal imaging were consistent with a BRAO with associated areas of intraretinal whitening along the involved artery. Upon further questioning, the patient reported having 15 cats at home. Antibodies were positive for B. henselae. The patient was treated with oral doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 2 months with complete resolution of the retinal findings and the scotoma.

Conclusions and importance: B. henselae should be considered as a potential cause of retinitis and BRAO, even in pediatric-aged patients.


For more:

Bartonella Neuroretinitis From a Ferret and Guinea Pig

Not cat-scratch disease: Bartonella henselae neuroretinitis associated with non-feline pet mammals

Affiliations expand

Free PMC article


To describe the ocurrence of Bartonella-associated neuroretinitis secondary to non-feline pet exposure, we retrospectively reviewed medical records and imaging from patients with a clinical and serologic diagnosis of Bartonella henselae (BH). Retinal imaging included color fundus photography, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography (FA). Four eyes of two patients with cat-scratch disease were included in this study, with a mean age of 35 years. The mean follow-up was 13 months, after presentation of infectious neuroretinitis. Both patients suffered from bilateral neuroretinitis after direct contact with family pets (ferret and guinea pig).

All patients were treated with a long-term systemic antimicrobial therapy.

Visual acuity in all improved to 20/30 or better at six months. In conclusion, humans may develop cat-scratch disease when they are exposed to Bartonella henselae (BH) in the saliva of infected cats or BH-containing flea feces reaching the systemic circulation through scratches or mucous membranes. As the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) may reside on non-feline mammals, Bartonella-associated neuroretinitis may result from contact with other furred family pets.


For more on neuroretinitis:  All the patients denied a history of a cat or any animal contact, or of having CSD findings.

For more on Bartonella:


Fifteen species of gram-negative aerobic Bartonella are known to infect humans; however Dr. Ricardo Maggi’s statement is quite telling, “This case reinforces the hypothesis that any Bartonella species can cause human infection.”