The objective of this study was to determine current practices and opinions among cornea specialists for treating and preventing recurrences of herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO).
In November 2010, a survey of 15 questions was distributed to The Cornea Society listserv. Questions identified respondents' treatment practices for recurrent HZO and opinions regarding prolonged antiviral prophylaxis and zoster vaccine.
Of 100 respondents, the majority were cornea specialists (83 of 98, 85%). Eighty-seven percent (84 of 97) reported treating recurrent or chronic cases of HZO in the last year. The most common choice of treatment in the posed recurrent HZO clinical scenario was a combination of oral antiviral and topical corticosteroid (63 of 100, 63%), although significant variability existed in the duration of oral antiviral administration. Fifty-four respondents (56%) believed that prolonged acyclovir prophylaxis could reduce recurrent signs of HZO; 28% (27 of 98) believed that recurrences of HZO could be reduced after the period of acyclovir administration. For patients with a history of HZO, most respondents reported not recommending the adult zoster vaccine (63 of 98, 64%), but 46% (43 of 94) believed that the vaccine could reduce recurrent signs or did not know.
Many cornea specialists are managing recurrent or chronic cases of HZO, but there is variability in the use of topical corticosteroids and antivirals. Additionally, no consensus exists on the efficacy of prolonged antiviral therapy or the adult zoster vaccine to reduce chronic or recurrent disease. These results demonstrate the need for further systematic study of treatment and prophylaxis for recurrent and chronic HZO.