Retinitis caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is unusual in adults. Sixteen of the 17 cases reported have occurred in immunologically compromised patients, most frequently renal transplant recipients. CMV retinitis is associated with a distinctive ophthalmoscopic appearance and, in the majority of cases, was the first clinical manifestation of systemic viral infection. Severe and permanent visual deficits are characteristic. Since retinitis is a reliable sign of disseminated disease and ophthalmoscopic examination a rapid method of establishing its presence, recognition of this manifestation should allow earlier diagnosis of serious CMV infection.
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