Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus Rarely Leads to Complications

In healthy children the prognosis is generally good despite evidence of lasting damage

MONDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The prognosis is generally good for otherwise healthy children with herpes zoster ophthalmicus, but in some cases it can lead to severe eye complications and even visual loss, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Denise De Freitas, M.D., of the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues followed 10 otherwise healthy patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus, including five boys and five girls (mean age at presentation was 8.7 years). The researchers collected data on best-corrected visual acuity, biomicroscopy, intraocular pressure, corneal sensitivity and funduscopy during a median follow-up period of 19 months.

By the end of follow-up, two patients had decreased visual acuity and nine had good final visual acuity, even though they had some degree of abnormal corneal sensitivity and opacity, both suggestive of permanent nerve and ganglion damage.

"The severity of herpes zoster ophthalmicus and its complications depend on the patient immune response and the antiviral therapy," the authors conclude. "Data presented in this study suggest the importance of the prompt diagnosis and adequate treatment of this disease and its complications in this population."

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