Study: rubella vaccine may prevent eye disease

Chicago-The rubella vaccine, originally a method for preventing birth defects that can occur when "German measles" are passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, may now prevent eye disease.

Chicago-The rubella vaccine, originally a method for preventing birth defects that can occur when "German measles" are passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, may now prevent eye disease.

Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, believe this may explain the disappearance of a chronic inflammatory eye disease that can cause cataracts, glaucoma, and blindness, according to the study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Researchers looked at cases of Fuch's heterochromic iridocyclitis (FHI) in U.S. and foreign-born babies before and after the vaccination was introduced in the United States. Babies who were born abroad, receiving the vaccine later, showed more occurrences of FHI than American babies who received it earlier.

Although the cause of FHI is unknown, antibodies to the rubella virus have been found in the eyes of FHI patients which according to researchers, suggests a link.