Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that may damage tissue by direct invasion and proliferation or as a consequence of the host immune response. Many viruses, particularly the herpes viruses, have a predilection for retinal tissue, and thus can have enormous effects on visual function. Patients who are immunocompromised as a result of medication or disease are at greatest risk for retinal infection. Fortunately, advances in diagnosis and treatment of these diseases have improved substantially the outcome in many patients.
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