In reviewing the clinical features, diagnostic evaluations and therapies of the most common ocular viral infections we attempt to whet your appetite for attacking the numerous challenges in diagnosis and treatment of viral eye disease. The herpes viruses, HSV, VZV and CMV are the cause of significant ocular morbidity. HSV most commonly affects the cornea producing keratitis that can be recurrent and may lead to corneal clouding and neovascularisation. Manifestations can be purely infectious or immunological and treatment options must be tailored to the underlying pathophysiology. Herpes zoster ophthalmicus, caused by VZV infection of the first branch of the trigeminal nerve, produces a characteristic rash and can progress to keratitis and uveitis. HSV and VZV can cause retinitis in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. There has been a significant increase in the incidence of CMV retinitis since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. We review the numerous new treatments, diagnostic tests and treatment strategies which have been developed in response to this potentially blinding retinal infection. Adenovirus produces an epidemic conjunctivitis and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis which are severe and extremely contagious conjunctival infections. HIV, molluscum contagiosum, EBV and rubeola also cause ocular diseases which are described.Copyright 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.