Herpes zoster ophthalmicus: Acute keratitis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Herpes zoster is a common condition, and involvement of the trigeminal nerve results in herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO). Acute keratitis is one of the most common of these ocular complications associated with HZO. The findings associated with and the management of acute zoster keratitis will be reviewed. Recent findings: The incidence rate of herpes zoster has been on the rise over the past several decades. At the same time, the average patient age at presentation is declining with similar trends also seen in HZO. The cause of these changes has yet to be determined. Our understanding of corneal involvement in HZO continues to evolve with new imaging demonstrating viral particles within keratocytes in a case of zoster stromal keratitis. New medications such as topical ganciclovir are also helping to better manage acute zoster keratitis that is unresponsive to oral antiviral therapy. Summary: Acute zoster keratitis can lead to permanent vision loss. Early diagnosis and management may help reduce these potentially devastating complications. Oral and topical antiviral medications can play a role in managing the acute disease, and herpes zoster vaccinations are important for prevention of disease. Further research must be done to establish standards for treatment of anterior segment complications from herpes zoster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-333
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • acute keratitis
  • herpes zoster ophthalmicus
  • zoster vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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