Varicella-zoster virus retrobulbar optic neuritis in a patient with human immunodeficiency virus

Am J Ophthalmol. 1996 Oct;122(4):586-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72127-0.


Purpose: To determine the cause of bilateral retrobulbar optic neuritis followed by progressive outer retinal necrosis in a patient with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Methods: Extensive ophthalmologic, neurologic, infectious disease, rheumatologic, and radiologic examinations were performed.

Results: Cerebrospinal fluid samples taken after the onset of bilateral retrobulbar optic neuritis and before the development of clinical progressive outer retinal necrosis disclosed varicella-zoster virus from polymerase chain reaction and viral culture.

Conclusion: Ophthalmologists and neurologists should consider varicella-zoster virus optic neuritis as a potential precursor of progressive outer retinal necrosis and as a cause of retrobulbar optic neuritis in patients infected with HIV.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / etiology*
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / pathology
  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / virology
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Eye Infections, Viral* / drug therapy
  • Eye Infections, Viral* / etiology
  • Eye Infections, Viral* / pathology
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / drug therapy
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / etiology*
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / pathology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Optic Neuritis / drug therapy
  • Optic Neuritis / etiology*
  • Optic Neuritis / pathology
  • Orbit
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retinal Necrosis Syndrome, Acute / etiology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral