Oral acyclovir reduces the incidence of recurrent herpes simplex keratitis in rabbits after penetrating keratoplasty

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989 Aug;107(8):1200-5. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020266036.


To determine if acyclovir sodium prevents postoperative herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) recurrences, 21 rabbits harboring latent HSV-1 underwent uniocular autograft penetrating keratoplasty. All operated-on eyes were treated with topical and subconjunctival dexamethasone sodium phosphate. Ten of the 21 rabbits also received oral acyclovir (intravenous acyclovir was given at the time of surgery). Postoperatively, 9 (82%) of 11 operated-on eyes in rabbits not treated with acyclovir had positive HSV-1 ocular cultures. In acyclovir-treated rabbits, however, none of the 10 operated-on eyes had positive ocular cultures. In addition, 9 (82%) of 11 of the operated-on eyes had geographic ulcers develop in the non-acyclovir-treated rabbits, compared with 1 (10%) of 10 in the acyclovir-treated rabbits. Finally, stromal keratitis appeared in 5 (56%) of 9 of the operated-on eyes in non-acyclovir-treated rabbits and 1 (12%) of 8 of the operated-on eyes in acyclovir-treated rabbits. The results of this study indicate that acyclovir significantly lowered the incidence of HSV-1 ocular shedding, geographic ulceration, and stromal keratitis in a rabbit autograft penetrating keratoplasty model.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / administration & dosage
  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Corneal Stroma / pathology
  • Corneal Transplantation*
  • Corneal Ulcer / etiology
  • Female
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Keratitis / etiology
  • Keratitis, Dendritic / etiology
  • Keratitis, Dendritic / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Rabbits
  • Recurrence
  • Simplexvirus / isolation & purification
  • Tears / microbiology


  • Acyclovir