Acute retinal necrosis caused by reactivation of herpes simplex virus type 2

Am J Ophthalmol. 1994 Aug 15;118(2):205-11. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72900-9.


Acute retinal necrosis is a severe form of necrotizing retinitis. Acute retinal necrosis has been demonstrated to be caused by varicella-zoster virus and herpes simplex virus type 1. We treated three patients with acute retinal necrosis apparently caused by recrudescence of latent herpes simplex virus type 2. Primary viral infection was probably congenital, with documented perinatal herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in two patients. Bilateral chorioretinal scars were present in two patients, neither of whom had a history of ocular herpetic infection, suggesting that earlier subclinical chorioretinitis had occurred. In each case, periocular trauma preceded the development of retinitis by two to three weeks. These cases are evidently caused by trauma-induced reactivation of latent virus rather than the onset of a primary infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Eye Infections, Viral / complications*
  • Eye Injuries / complications
  • Female
  • Herpes Simplex / complications*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / growth & development
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Retinal Necrosis Syndrome, Acute / drug therapy
  • Retinal Necrosis Syndrome, Acute / etiology*
  • Virus Activation / physiology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • Acyclovir
  • Methylprednisolone