Risk Factors for Secondary Glaucoma in Herpetic Anterior Uveitis

Am J Ophthalmol. 2017 Sep;181:55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2017.06.013. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


Purpose: To determine the incidence of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and secondary glaucoma in herpetic anterior uveitis (AU), owing to either herpes simplex or varicella zoster virus, by using the Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature (SUN) criteria, and to identify risk factors for the development of glaucoma.

Design: Retrospective observational cohort study.

Methods: Patients with herpetic AU presenting themselves between 2001 and 2013 at the ophthalmology department of the University Medical Center Groningen were included. Main outcome measures were the incidence of elevated IOP and glaucoma and risk factors for the development of glaucoma.

Results: Seventy-three herpetic AU patients were included. Ocular complications most commonly seen during follow-up for uveitis were elevated IOP (75%), keratitis (59%), dry eyes (34%), posterior synechiae (34%), cataract (32%), and glaucoma (15%). Glaucoma patients, in comparison to non-glaucoma patients, had a higher number of IOP peaks during their follow-up for uveitis (P < .001). The majority of patients with elevated IOP (91%) had this already at the start of the uveitis. Nineteen percent of the patients needed glaucoma surgery.

Conclusions: Using the SUN criteria, our study confirmed that elevated IOP and secondary glaucoma are major complications in herpetic AU. If an elevated IOP occurred, it was usually already present at the start of a uveitis episode. A risk factor for the development of glaucoma was the number of endured IOP peaks. Future studies are needed to evaluate whether early and prolonged use of antiviral and IOP-lowering medication may prevent glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Eye Infections, Viral / virology*
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / epidemiology*
  • Glaucoma / etiology
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / virology*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / virology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / immunology
  • Simplexvirus / isolation & purification
  • Tonometry, Ocular
  • Uveitis, Anterior / virology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral