Advanced Age and Multiple Comorbidities as Important Factors in Predicting Poor Prognosis in Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus


CUREUS, vol.13, no.9, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.7759/cureus.18412
  • Journal Name: CUREUS
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index
  • Keywords: cranial nerves, varicella-zoster virus, prognosis, ophthalmoplegia, herpes zoster, SECONDARY


The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection results in varicella (chickenpox) and is generally seen in immunocompromised persons. VZV virus remains latent in the ophthalmic branch in the trigeminal ganglion. When reactivated, herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) develops and sometimes leads to chronic ocular complications, among which cranial nerve palsies are rarely seen. Though the third cranial nerve is most frequently involved, the fourth and sixth nerves may also be involved in some cases. Treatment includes systemic antiviral therapy and steroid administration. The prognosis is generally good when treatment is executed. Improvement can also be observed without treatment. In this article, we would like to highlight two such cases in which these two cranial nerves got involved following an episode of HZO. One is a 67-year-old female patient having diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension (HT), and coronary heart disease with fourth and sixth cranial nerve complete palsy. The other is a 76-year-old male patient with HT, DM, and heart failure with only sixth cranial nerve complete palsy. Despite adequate treatment, both patients had a poor prognosis. Advanced age and the presence of multiple comorbidities are important factors in predicting poor prognosis in HZO cases.