Herpes simplex virus type 2 acute retinal necrosis in an immunocompetent patient.

Research paper by E E Miserocchi, G G Modorati, C C Azzolini, C C Stephen Foster, R R Brancato

Indexed on: 01 Jan '03Published on: 01 Jan '03Published in: European journal of ophthalmology


To report a case of acute retinal necrosis caused by herpes simplex virus 2 in an otherwise healthy patient.A 45-year-old man presented with one months history of decreased vision in the right eye. He had previously received a course of intravenous gancyclovir because of a clinical suspicion of cytomegalovirus retinitis. The patients ocular history was remarkable for a similar episode in the left eye thirty years earlier, resulting in important visual impairment. System and laboratory investigations were unremarkable. Ocular examination showed severe anterior granulomatous uveitis, vitreous haze, areas of necrosis and retinal exudates. The anterior chamber tap disclosed the presence of HSV type 2, and oral steroids and acyclovir were instituted. Two weeks after the patient had been discharged, a retinal detachment occurred in the right eye, necessitating surgical repair. The presence of HSV type 2 was confirmed in the vitreous. Visual acuity recovered completely after surgery and the patient was placed on a maintenance dose of oral acyclovir.HSV type 2 is a rare cause of acute retinal necrosis in healthy patients. Bilateral involvement can occur in the fellow eye, even with a long delay. Acute retinal necrosis is a severe ocular inflammatory syndrome associated with a very poor visual outcome. It is caused by VZV, HSV type 1 and, less commonly, by HSV type 2. The disease can affect healthy patients and cause bilateral involvement in the fellow eye, even with a long delay. (Eur J Ophthalmol 2003; 13: 99-102).