To investigate differences in outcomes of acute retinal necrosis with confirmed viral polymerase chain reaction between viral types and highlight different treatment options.
The study evaluated 22 eyes in 18 patients of polymerase chain reaction-positive acute retinal necrosis at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center from 2007 to 2018. Outcome measures included final visual acuity, treatment paradigms, and retinal detachment rate.
Eight eyes were polymerase chain reaction-positive for varicella zoster virus, two eyes for herpes simplex virus Type 1 (HSV-1), and 12 eyes for herpes simplex virus Type 2 (HSV-2). Final Snellen best-corrected visual acuity averaged 20/51 for varicella zoster virus, 20/25 for HSV-1, and 20/814 for HSV-2. Retinal detachment occurred in 2 (25%) of varicella zoster virus eyes and 8 (75%) of HSV-2 eyes. One eye with HSV-1 and three eyes with HSV-2 received cidofovir for treatment of refractory retinitis.
Acute retinal necrosis secondary to HSV-2 tended to have persistent active retinitis with a higher rate of retinal detachment despite similar treatment protocols, suggesting that in some cases combination intravenous acyclovir and adjuvant intravitreal foscarnet injections are not sufficient. Despite the risk of renal toxicity, intravenous cidofovir may be a consideration in select patients.