Herpes zoster ophthalmicus in Malawi

Ophthalmology. 1994 Nov;101(11):1801-4. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(94)31099-2.


Objective: The objective was to describe the complications and outcomes of herpes zoster ophthalmicus in a population of young Africans with a high seroprevalence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in which treatment often is delayed and in which antiviral drugs are not available.

Methods: Twenty-seven patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus presenting consecutively to a large urban hospital were examined and followed. Treatment was limited to that which was locally available.

Results: Visual outcomes were poor. Sixty-six percent of eyes had final visual acuity less than 20/60. Forty percent had light perception or no light perception visual acuity. Severe keratouveitis and corneal perforation were common and responsible for most poor visual outcomes.

Conclusion: Young Africans with herpes zoster ophthalmicus are at a high risk for significant visual loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adult
  • Chloramphenicol / administration & dosage
  • Corneal Diseases / etiology
  • Eyelid Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus* / complications
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus* / drug therapy
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Tetracycline / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors
  • Uveitis / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Visual Acuity


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Ointments
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Tetracycline