Four in 10 Ebola survivors report blurred vision

University of Liverpool study finds 80% of Ebola survivors have major limitations in mobility, cognition and vision


New research by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has delved into the ongoing impact of the Ebola virus.

Researchers assessed disability among 27 Ebola virus disease survivors and 54 unaffected contacts in Sierra Leone.  

Study author, Dr Soushieta Jagadesh, told OT that the study found that 80% of survivors reported a disability compared to 11% of people in the control group.

The study found 44% of Ebola survivors reported blurred vision, while 41% say they have problems with near-distance vision and 26% struggle with their long-distance vision.

Dr Janet Scott, who also worked on the research paper, shared with OT that in a sister study the ophthalmology department examined 82 survivors and determined that visual acuity was normal in 75.6% of patients.

This suggested that more survivors perceived that they had visual problems than was borne out through a clinical examination, Dr Scott explained.

“It was interesting to find that even with the use of spectacles that were prescribed during convalescence, the survivors complained of blurred vision and difficulty in near and long distance vision at the time of study,” she highlighted.

“Could this indicate a worsening of visual acuity following the previous eye examination? Or is it that this kind of blurred vision can’t be cured by fixing the eyes?” Dr Scott added.

Dr Scott emphasised that disability studies attempted to look at the person’s overall health and how they felt themselves to be.  

“Vision is a clearly big factor in how enabled or otherwise a person feels,” she concluded.