Clinical course and treatment of archipelago keratitis: a Herpesviridae keratitis subtype

Br J Ophthalmol. 2022 Jul 26:bjophthalmol-2021-320847. doi: 10.1136/bjo-2021-320847. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Archipelago keratitis (ApK) is a subtype of Herpesviridae stromal keratitis that consists of subepithelial nummular inflammatory infiltrates arranged in a radial centripetal pattern. This rare and poorly described form is not often recognised early. We report the first large series of ApK, with an analysis of clinical settings at presentation, evolution of the disease with time and a description of factors associated with recurrence.

Methods: The clinical records of 82 patients (83 eyes) with a diagnosis of ApK between 2011 and 2021 in two centres were reviewed.

Results: The median age of the 82 patients at referral was 37±28 years. ApK was unilateral in all but one case. A total of 76% of patients had at least one second diagnostic criteria suggesting a herpetic aetiology. Overall, 44 (53%) eyes exhibited least one recurrence after a median of 12 months. Recurrence was frequently associated with neovascularisation (HR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.9; p=0.02) and tapering corticosteroids (HR 3.5, 95% CI 1.8 to 7.1; p<0.01) or valaciclovir use (HR=2.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.6; p=0.01). Antiviral treatment was used in all patients, whereas local anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids and/or ciclosporin were used in 73 (88%) cases.

Conclusion: ApK is a Herpesviridae stromal keratitis that is typically unilateral in presentation and features a high risk of recurrence. Combined treatment with antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually required over the long term. Topical ciclosporin can be useful as a corticosteroid-sparing treatment.

Keywords: Cornea; Infection; Inflammation.