Dr. Ian Crozier, who had been working in Africa, was hospitalized for Ebola, treated and cured. However, within two months after his release from the hospital, he developed intense pain in his left eye along with faded, blurry vision and shockingly – his eye color changed from blue to green!
What soon became apparent is that the Ebola virus had been hiding, undisturbed, in his eye all along, even after treatment. Change in eye-color is an extremely unusual but known response to certain viral infections, related to a change in the metabolism of the iris. While it can be permanent, Dr. Crozier’s eye returned to normal after further treatment.
“I’ve been doing what I do for 40 years and I’ve never seen such a reversibility,” said Dr. C. Stephen Foster, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.
Cases like that of Dr. Crozier have opened a new chapter in Ebola treatment, that of the “Post-Ebola Syndrome.” A number of Ebola survivors have reported later symptoms, including visual problems and joint, muscle and chest pain. While Ebola has previously been known to hide in semen after otherwise effective treatments, this was the first known case of it hiding in a patient’s eye. The medical community and particularly African Ebola specialists, are calling for further research on why Ebola symptoms linger, and whether they are caused by the disease itself or are a result of certain treatments. This case, for now, is further evidence of how little we still know about the Ebola virus.