Detection of herpes simplex virus DNA in human tear film by the polymerase chain reaction

Am J Ophthalmol. 1994 Feb 15;117(2):160-3. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)73071-5.


We investigated the use of the polymerase chain reaction for detecting genomes of herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, and cytomegalovirus from tear film of patients with clinically diagnosed herpes simplex virus keratitis. Using the polymerase chain reaction with a herpes simplex virus detection sensitivity adjusted to 1.0 plaque-forming units/ml, we detected herpes simplex virus genomic sequences in 12 of 12 epithelial keratitis specimens, two of six stromal keratitis specimens, but in none of 20 normal specimens. Neither varicella-zoster virus nor cytomegalovirus genomic sequences were detected in any sample. These results suggest that polymerase chain reaction quickly performed with reduced sensitivity is useful as a diagnostic tool for confirming clinical observations.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / microbiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Simplexvirus / genetics*
  • Simplexvirus / isolation & purification
  • Tears / microbiology*


  • DNA, Viral