Late reactivation of herpes zoster keratitis results in band keratopathy

Albietz, Julie M. & Lenton, Lee M. (2014) Late reactivation of herpes zoster keratitis results in band keratopathy. Optometry and Vision Science, 91(6), e149-e155.

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To report an unusual case of a late-stage reactivation of immune stromal keratitis associated with herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), occurring without any apparent predisposing factors, more than 4 years after an acute zoster dermatomal rash. Significant corneal hypoesthesia and a central band keratopathy developed within 6 months of the late-stage reactivation. The clinical case management, issues associated with management, and management options are discussed, including the use of standardized, regulatory approved, antibacterial medical honey.

Case Report

An 83-year-old woman presented for routine review with a reactivation of right anterior stromal keratitis and mild anterior uveitis, occurring more than 4 years after an acute HZO dermatomal rash and an associated initial episode of anterior stromal keratitis. Corneal sensation became markedly impaired, and over the subsequent 6 months, a right central band keratopathy developed despite oral antiviral and topical steroid therapy. Visual acuity with pinhole was reduced to 20/100 in the affected eye and moderate irritation and epiphora were experienced. The patient declined the surgical intervention options of chelation, lamellar keratectomy, and phototherapeutic keratectomy to treat the band keratopathy. Longer-term management has involved preservative-free artificial tears, eyelid hygiene, standardized antibacterial medical honey, topical nonpreserved steroid, and UV-protective wraparound sunglasses. The clinical condition has improved over 14 months with this ocular surface management regimen, and visual acuity of 20/30 is currently achieved in a comfortable eye.


The chronic and recurrent nature of HZO can be associated with significant corneal morbidity, even many years after the initial zoster episode. Long-term review and management of patients with a history of herpes zoster stromal keratitis are indicated following the initial corneal involvement. Standardized antibacterial medical honey can be considered in the management of the chronic ocular surface disease associated with HZO and warrants further evaluation in clinical trials.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 78850
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: herpes zoster ophthalmicus, immune stromal keratitis, band keratopathy, neurotrophic keratitis, standardized antibacterial medical honey
DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000280
ISSN: 1040-5488
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 American Academy of Optometry
Deposited On: 20 Nov 2014 23:51
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2014 22:16

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