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.