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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr1220092532.
Published online 2010 November 19. doi:  10.1136/bcr.12.2009.2532
PMCID: PMC3027755
Reminder of important clinical lesson

Ophthalmoplegia secondary to herpes zoster ophthalmicus


An 80-year-old Caucasian woman had been diagnosed with right herpes zoster ophthalmicus 2 ½ weeks before presentation to our department. Ten days after stopping oral aciclovir, she presented with periorbital pain, visual loss, ptosis and complete ophthalmoplegia. On examination, visual acuity in her right eye was hand movements, with a relative afferent pupillary defect and 2 mm proptosis. MRI demonstrated contrast enhancement within the orbit extending into the apex, suggestive of an inflammatory process. Oral treatment was started with oral aciclovir and corticosteroids for 2 months, when she had resolution of the optic neuropathy and ophthalmoplegia. Vision recovered to 6/9 and repeat neuroimaging revealed regression of the inflammatory process.

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