Increased risk of anterior uveitis following herpes zoster: a nationwide population-based study

Arch Ophthalmol. 2012 Apr;130(4):451-5. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.357.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between herpes zoster (HZ) and the subsequent risk of anterior uveitis during the year following an HZ diagnosis, using a nationwide population-based data set.

Methods: This study used the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The study cohort consisted of 314,405 patients who received a diagnosis of HZ. The comparison cohort comprised 943,215 randomly selected patients. We tracked each patient for a 1-year period from their index ambulatory care visit to identify those who subsequently received a diagnosis of anterior uveitis. Stratified Cox proportional hazard regressions were performed to compute the adjusted 1-year uveitis-free survival rate, after adjusting for patient's age, sex, and geographic region and the presence of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, mumps, systemic lupus erythematosus, tuberculosis, ankylosing spondylitis, and human immunodeficiency syndrome/AIDS.

Results: During the 1-year follow-up period, 2515 (0.2%) of 1,257,620 sampled patients were diagnosed with anterior uveitis: 908 from the study cohort (0.3% of the patients with HZ) and 1607 from the comparison cohort (0.2% of patients without HZ). After adjusting for potential confounders, the hazard ratio of anterior uveitis during the 1-year follow-up period was 1.67 for patients with HZ (P < .001) compared with the comparison cohort. In addition, the hazard ratio of anterior uveitis for patients with HZ ophthalmicus was 13.06 (P < .001) when compared with patients without HZ.

Conclusions: The risk of anterior uveitis increased in the year following a diagnosis of HZ. We suggest that patient eye condition be evaluated following diagnosis with HZ.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / diagnosis
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Groups
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Uveitis, Anterior / diagnosis
  • Uveitis, Anterior / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult