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Ocular herpes: the pathophysiology, management and treatment of herpetic eye diseases

Abstract

Herpesviruses are a prominent cause of human viral disease, second only to the cold and influenza viruses. Most herpesvirus infections are mild or asymptomatic. However, when the virus invades the eye, a number of pathologies can develop and its associated sequelae have become a considerable source of ocular morbidity. The most common culprits of herpetic eye disease are the herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella zoster virus (VZV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV). While primary infection can produce ocular disease, the most destructive manifestations tend to arise from recurrent infection. These recurrent infections can wreck devastating effects and lead to irreversible vision loss accompanied by a decreased quality of life, increased healthcare usage, and significant cost burden. Unfortunately, no method currently exists to eradicate herpesviruses from the body after infection. Treatment and management of herpes-related eye conditions continue to revolve around antiviral drugs, although corticosteroids, interferons, and other newer therapies may also be appropriate depending on the disease presentation. Ultimately, the advent of effective vaccines will be crucial to preventing herpesvirus diseases altogether and cutting the incidence of ocular complications.

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Zhu, L., Zhu, H. Ocular herpes: the pathophysiology, management and treatment of herpetic eye diseases. Virol. Sin. 29, 327–342 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12250-014-3539-2

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Keywords

  • ocular herpes
  • herpetic eye diseases
  • varicella zoster virus (VZV)
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • herpes simplex virus (HSV)