Purpose To describe the long-term outcomes of patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis and AIDS in the modern era of combination antiretroviral therapy. Design Prospective, observational cohort study. Participants Patients with AIDS and CMV retinitis. Methods Immune recovery, defined as a CD4+ T-cell count >100 cells/μl for ≥3 months. Main Outcome Measures Mortality, visual impairment (visual acuity <20/40), and blindness (visual acuity ≤20/200) on logarithmic visual acuity charts and loss of visual field on quantitative Goldmann perimetry. Results Patients without immune recovery had a mortality of 44.4/100 person-years (PYs) and a median survival of 13.5 months after the diagnosis of CMV retinitis, whereas those with immune recovery had a mortality of 2.7/100 PYs (P < 0.001) and an estimated median survival of 27.0 years after the diagnosis of CMV retinitis. The rates of bilateral visual impairment and blindness were 0.9 and 0.4/100 PYs, respectively, and were similar between those with and without immune recovery. Among those with immune recovery, the rate of visual field loss was approximately 1% of the normal field per year, whereas among those without immune recovery it was approximately 7% of the normal field per year. Conclusions Among persons with CMV retinitis and AIDS, if there is immune recovery, long-term survival is likely, whereas if there is no immune recovery, the mortality rate is substantial. Although higher than the rates in the population not infected by human immunodeficiency virus, the rates of bilateral visual impairment and blindness are low, especially when compared with rates in the era before modern antiretroviral therapy.
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