Corneal complications from herpes zoster ophthalmicus

Ophthalmology. 1985 Mar;92(3):316-24. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(85)34034-4.


Of 94 patients with acute herpes zoster ophthalmicus who were seen during a six-year period, 61 had corneal involvement. The corneal complications in the order of chronological clinical occurrence were punctate epithelial keratitis in 51%, early pseudodendrites in 51%, anterior stromal infiltrates in 41%, sclerokeratitis in 1%, kerato-uveitis/endothelitis in 34%, serpiginous ulceration in 7%, delayed corneal mucous plaques in 13%, disciform keratitis in 10%, neurotrophic keratitis in 25%, and exposure keratitis in 11%. Some of the earlier lesions seemed to result from viral infection, whereas later lesions resulted from limbal vasculitis, an immunologic mechanism to soluble viral antigen, a delayed hypersensitivity reaction, or damage to nerves and tissues. An elucidation of the lesions awaits better viral and immunologic detection techniques and further histopathologic study. Modern topical and systemic antiviral therapy, corticosteroids, and surgery have a role in treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology*
  • Corneal Diseases / surgery
  • Corneal Ulcer / pathology
  • Endothelium / pathology
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / pathology*
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / surgery
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / pathology
  • Sclera / pathology
  • Uveitis / pathology