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Relapsing-remitting Optic Neuropathy in an HIV-infected Patient: Secondary Auto-immune Optic Neuropathy or Infectious Optic Neuropathy? A Case Report and Review of the Literature.


It can be challenging to disentangle human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related infectious optic neuropathy and secondary triggered auto-immune disease when an HIV positive patient presents with vision loss. We report a 44-year-old untreated HIV positive Congolese woman who presented with two episodes of vision loss associated with pain in first her left eye and then her right eye and was diagnosed with a relapsing optic neuropathy. A correlation was observed between the clinical activity and cerebrospinal fluid viral load, CD4-count in the blood and magnetic resonance imaging signs of blood – optic nerve barrier breakdown. CD4 cell counts and viral loads are great clinical features to identify the type of acute optic neuropathy since differential diagnosis between an infectious optic neuropathy or an auto-immune induced optic neuropathy such as neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder or immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome can be puzzling.