Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2003 Jun;81(3):216-20.

Visual prognosis in immunocompetent patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus.

Author information

Department of Ophthalmology, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To determine the normal spectrum of ocular complications and associated visual outcome in patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus.


This prospective observational cohort study included 73 immunocompetent adults with herpes zoster ophthalmicus, referred by their general practitioners within 7 days of skin rash onset. The follow-up period was 6 months. All patients received a 7-14-day course of systemic aciclovir treatment combined with longterm application of a lubricating ophthalmic ointment as long as the corneal epithelium was affected. Topical corticosteroids were strictly avoided in the acute phase of ocular disease. Acquired visual loss scores at 1, 2 and 6 months were based on best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) level and evaluation of the ophthalmological history and findings.


Ophthalmic herpes zoster led to a variety of transient inflammatory reactions within the anterior eye segment of the involved side in 46 patients (63%), but did not seriously compromise their ultimate visual outcome. Mild to moderate visual loss, with corrected VA between 0.3 and 0.8, was found in 17 patients at 1 month (23%), in 10 patients at 2 months (14%) and in seven patients at 6 months follow-up (10%). None of the patients developed visual loss with a corrected VA of less than 0.3.


Functional vision was retained in all ophthalmic zoster patients referred to the ophthalmologist in the acute phase of the disease by vigorous antiviral treatment and adequate prevention of corneal exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center