A 48-year-old man who died of herpes simplex encephalitis had a bilateral papillitis at autopsy. Intranuclear inclusion bodies were especially numerous within the ganglion cells and inner nuclear layer of the macula and consisted of typical virions by electron microscopy. Contiguous spread from the brain to the eyes may have occurred via the optic nerves. Clinically, the disk and retinal changes were misinterpreted as being caused by papilledema. Papillitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of disk swelling in adults with suspected Herpesvirus hominis infection of the central nervous system.