Visual Outcome in Herpes Zoster Optic Neuritis
- Darrick Neibaur, Neibaur Darrick
A prospective, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted to study the effects of oral acyclovir on 55 patients with acute herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Treatment with oral acyclovir resulted in more prompt resolution of signs and symptoms, particularly in patients treated within 72 hours after onset of skin rash (P less than 0.05), and shortened the duration of viral shedding (P = 0.02). Vesicular skin lesions involving other dermatomes (microdissemination) occurred in five (19%) placebo-treated patients but in no acyclovir-treated patients (P = 0.03). Interim analysis of this longitudinal study suggests that the incidence and severity of secondary ocular inflammatory disease was reduced by acyclovir. Prolonged observation of these patients is ongoing to determine if oral acyclovir reduces post-herpes zoster neuralgia or the late ocular complications of ophthalmic zoster.