Top 5 Takeaways

  1. This report details five cases of ocular monkeypox in the U.S. from July to September 2022, highlighting serious complications including vision impairment and prolonged illness.
  2. Patients with ocular monkeypox, including those with HIV and immunocompromise, faced treatment delays, hospitalization, and in some cases, significant vision loss.
  3. Health care providers should urgently evaluate and treat patients showing signs of ocular monkeypox to prevent sight-threatening conditions.
  4. Health practitioners are advised to be vigilant about this rare but serious manifestation of monkeypox and notify health officials promptly for support.
  5. Prevention strategies include practicing hand hygiene and avoiding eye contact, especially for individuals with monkeypox.


This MMWR Article was created prior to the conventional renaming of Monkeypox to its more standard and appropriate name, Mpox. To avoid confusion, Monkeypox is retained when writing this article, but all future works should use Mpox.


Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Shama Cash-Goldwasser

Suggested Citation

Cash-Goldwasser S, Labuda SM, McCormick DW, et al. Ocular Monkeypox — United States, July–September 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71.


The report documents five cases of ocular monkeypox in the United States between July and September 2022. Ocular monkeypox, resulting from the Monkeypox virus (MPXV) entering the eye, can lead to conditions like conjunctivitis, blepharitis, keratitis, and vision loss. These cases involved hospitalization, delayed treatment, and in one instance, significant vision impairment.


CDC gathered data through clinical consultations and worked with clinicians and health departments to monitor patient progress. This included defining ocular monkeypox as new ocular disease compatible with Orthopoxvirus infection in patients with confirmed or probable monkeypox, with no other explanation for the ocular disease.


The report underscores the importance of prompt evaluation and treatment to prevent serious complications from ocular monkeypox. It highlights the risk of autoinoculation and the need for timely medical countermeasures. The study also notes limitations, including potential non-representativeness of the cases and incomplete testing of ocular lesions.


Ocular monkeypox is a potentially sight-threatening infection requiring urgent ophthalmologic evaluation and timely medical intervention. Increased awareness among clinicians and public health practitioners, along with effective prevention strategies, can mitigate the risk of severe outcomes in patients with ocular monkeypox.


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