Vision Loss Associated With the Opioid Epidemic | Ophthalmology | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
December 2017

Vision Loss Associated With the Opioid Epidemic

Author Affiliations
  • 1Currently a medical student at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, New York
  • 3Section of Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135(12):1449-1451. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.4868

The United States experienced a tripling in the number of opioid overdose deaths from 2000 to 2014. In particular, the Northeast region has the highest age-adjusted rate of deaths associated with drug use, at 16.1 per 100 000 persons.1 In New Hampshire, the rate is even higher, at 26.2 per 100 000 persons.1

A devastating sequela of injection drug use (IDU) is endogenous endophthalmitis (EE).2 Injection drug use can lead to transient microbial bloodstream infection from use of a nonsterile injection apparatus, which can seed ocular infection.3 The prognosis of EE is poor, with nearly 50% of affected eyes having no light perception despite treatment.2 We investigated clinical characteristics of IDU vs non-IDU EE at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), Lebanon, New Hampshire, during the opioid epidemic.