University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

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Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) disciform keratitis

Contributor: Jesse Vislisel, MD

Photographer: Carol Chan, CRA

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is the herpesvirus responsible for chicken pox and shingles. Disciform keratitis presents as a round or ovoid region of stromal and epithelial corneal edema, often with associated keratic precipitates underlying the involved area. It is primarily caused by a herpetic endotheliitis and cases of disciform keratitis caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) and VZV are clinically indistinguishable. This patient had a recent history of zoster in a V1 distribution with classic findings of disciform keratitis, including underlying keratic precipitates that are not easily visible in this photograph.

round or ovoid region of stromal and epithelial corneal edema

Slit lamp view. round or ovoid region of stromal and epithelial corneal edema


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last updated: 10/10/2014
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