Washington—Two thousand years ago, a
blind Saul regained vision when "scales fell from his eyes," according to
the Book of Acts.
Today, a similar phenomenon—minus the divine intervention—has
affected a handful of civilian and military smallpox vaccinees.
The condition, ocular vaccinia, occurs when a vaccinee "autoinoculates,"
inadvertently transferring virus from the vaccination site to his or her eye.
Such activities as everyday eye rubbing, scratching, and contact lens handling
makes ocular vaccinia a potentially common adverse event of smallpox vaccination.
Vastag B. Experts Weigh Prevention, Therapy for Ocular Vaccinia in Smallpox Vaccinees. JAMA. 2003;289(17):2198-2199. doi:10.1001/jama.289.17.2198