What is the optical system involvement in herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Jan 25, 2019
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), a potentially devastating form of acute herpes zoster, results from the reactivation of VZV in the trigeminal (fifth cranial) nerve. Any branch of the nerve may be affected, though the frontal branch within the first division of the trigeminal nerve is most commonly involved. This branch innervates nearly all of the ocular and periocular structures.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nerve studies have detected latent trigeminal VZV in as many as 87% of patients. [16] Clinical disease has been reported in as few as 8% and as many as 56% of patients in studies focused on ophthalmic involvement. [17]


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