Herpes simplex virus keratitis in children

Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Sep;138(3):474-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2004.04.027.


Purpose: To describe the spectrum and recurrence of herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis in children and adolescents.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Twenty-three patients younger than age 16 years were diagnosed with HSV keratitis at one institution.

Results: All children presented with dendritic or punctate epithelial keratitis, and stromal keratitis occurred concurrently with epithelial keratitis in 14 patients (61%). Six patients (26%) had bilateral HSV keratitis. Eleven patients (48%) developed recurrent HSV keratitis at a median of 15 months after the first documented episode. Amblyopia occurred in three children.

Conclusion: Children with herpetic keratitis may have bilateral ocular involvement and are at risk for recurrent keratitis and amblyopia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Adolescent
  • Amblyopia / etiology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Corneal Stroma / virology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / complications*
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / drug therapy
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / virology
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trifluridine / therapeutic use
  • Vidarabine / therapeutic use


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Vidarabine
  • Trifluridine
  • Acyclovir