Management of Corneal Scarring Secondary to Herpes Zoster Keratitis

Omar M. Hassan, Asim V. Farooq, Ketki Soin, Ali R. Djalilian, Joshua H. Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review the management of visually significant corneal scarring secondary to herpes zoster keratitis (HZK). Methods: Literature review. Results: Management options for visually significant corneal scarring secondary to HZK include scleral contact lenses, photorefractive or phototherapeutic keratectomy, lamellar keratoplasty, penetrating keratoplasty, and keratoprosthesis. Many authors recommend tarsorrhaphy in at-risk patients at the time of corneal transplantation. Most published studies either did not mention or did not use systemic antivirals at the time of surgery. Longer quiescent periods before surgical intervention may be associated with increased rates of graft survival. Reports of HZK recurrence after live-attenuated vaccine administration suggest that risks and benefits of the vaccine should be carefully considered. Overall, the prognosis of surgical intervention for corneal scarring due to HZK relies on appropriate patient selection and measures to ensure ocular surface stability. There remains a serious risk of ocular surface instability and corneal melt in these patients. Unfortunately, there is a lack of prospective studies in this area to guide clinical management. Conclusions: Patients with visually significant corneal scarring secondary to HZK may have good outcomes with the appropriate medical and surgical considerations, particularly in the absence of active ocular surface disease and inflammation. Those with active disease may benefit from delaying surgical intervention until a satisfactory quiescent period has been achieved. Prospective studies, such as the proposed Zoster Eye Disease Study, are imperative for validating these principles and determining evidence-based management guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1023
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Corneal Scarring
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Zoster Keratitis


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