Cornea/External Disease, Neuro-Ophthalmology/Orbit, Ocular Surface Disease

    In this interview from AAO 2017, Dr. Bennie Jeng presents a clinical update on herpes zoster infection, commonly known as shingles. Herpes zoster is often assumed to cause an acute illness, but the virus sometimes triggers a chronic corneal infection that must be treated indefinitely. About 70% of cases can be avoided with the live attenuated Zostavax vaccine (Merck), but few Americans opt to receive this protection. Fortunately, the FDA recently approved a more effective, non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine called Shingrix (GlaxoSmithKline). The new vaccine can prevent more than 90% of infections in adults older than 50 years. In addition, Dr. Jeng and colleagues are enrolling more than 1,000 participants in a 60-center, randomized clinical trial to determine if long-term suppressive dose of valacyclovir, which is used to treat herpes simplex virus, can effectively prevent complications of herpes zoster ophthalmicus.

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