What Is Histoplasmosis?

Histoplasmosis is a disease you can get when you breathe infected airborne spores into your lungs. The spores that cause it are from the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. This microscopic fungus is sometimes called histo for short. It enters the air when people disturb soil when plowing fields, sweeping chicken coops, or digging holes.

Histoplasmosis starts as a lung infection. Doctors think that the infection, even if mild, can later move to the eye through the blood stream. Once in the eye it can cause a serious eye disease called ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS). OHS is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans ages 20 to 40.