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Ophthalmology. 2011 Nov;118(11):2242-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.04.002. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Herpes zoster ophthalmicus: comparison of disease in patients 60 years and older versus younger than 60 years.

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Wills Eye Institute, Cornea Service, Department of Ophthalmology, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To study the clinical course of herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) and to compare the demographics, treatments, and outcomes in patients aged <60 years versus patients aged ≥60 years at the time of diagnosis.


Retrospective chart review of all 112 patients presenting for management of HZO from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008.


A total of 112 patients (58 aged <60 years and 54 aged >60 years) at the time of HZO onset.


Anterior segment complications, treatments, and surgical procedures were documented at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year, and then annually for the remainder of the follow-up period.


Intraocular pressure, inflammation, steroid use, surgical procedures, anterior segment complications, post-herpetic neuralgia, and delayed herpes zoster pseudodendrites.


Equal numbers of patients were affected with HZO in the younger and older age groups (51.8%, n = 58 vs. 48.2%, n = 54, respectively, P = 0.69). The most common decade of HZO onset was between 50 and 59 years. Younger patients were more likely to be healthy compared with older patients (P = 0.05). Delayed herpes zoster pseudodendrites were more common in the younger patients (36.7% vs. 16.7%, P = 0.03). The mean number of flares per patient-years was significantly higher in the younger patients (z test, P = 0.024). Post-herpetic neuralgia, neurotrophic keratopathy, and secondary infectious keratitis were more frequent in the older patients (P = 0.05). Prevalence of corneal perforation, corneal thinning, cataract formation, and glaucoma was similar between the 2 groups. Most patients in both groups (84.2% of younger patients and 89.5% of older patients) were taking topical steroids 3 years after referral for HZO.


Herpes zoster ophthalmicus affects individuals aged younger than and older than 60 years in similar numbers, with the most common decade of onset between age 50 and 59 years. Younger patients had more episodes of delayed pseudodendritiform keratitis and flares of inflammation compared with older patients, who had more problems related to neurotrophic keratopathy.


The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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