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Orbital apex syndrome associated with herpes zoster ophthalmicus

Authors Kurimoto T, Tonari M, Ishizaki N, Monta M, Hirata S, Oku H , Sugasawa J, Ikeda T

Published 9 November 2011 Volume 2011:5 Pages 1603—1608


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Takuji Kurimoto1, Masahiro Tonari1, Norihiko Ishizaki1, Mitsuhiro Monta2, Saori Hirata2, Hidehiro Oku1, Jun Sugasawa1, Tsunehiko Ikeda1
1Department of Ophthalmology, Osaka Medical College, 2Department of Ophthalmology, Shitennoji Hospital, Osaka, Japan

Abstract: We report our findings for a patient with orbital apex syndrome associated with herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Our patient was initially admitted to a neighborhood hospital because of nausea and loss of appetite of 10 days' duration. The day after hospitalization, she developed skin vesicles along the first division of the trigeminal nerve, with severe lid swelling and conjunctival injection. On suspicion of meningoencephalitis caused by varicella zoster virus, antiviral therapy with vidarabine and betamethasone was started. Seventeen days later, complete ptosis and ophthalmoplegia developed in the right eye. The light reflex in the right eye was absent and anisocoria was present, with the right pupil larger than the left. Fat-suppressed enhanced T1-weighted magnetic resonance images showed high intensity areas in the muscle cone, cavernous sinus, and orbital optic nerve sheath. Our patient was diagnosed with orbital apex syndrome, and because of skin vesicles in the first division of the trigeminal nerve, the orbital apex syndrome was considered to be caused by herpes zoster ophthalmicus. After the patient was transferred to our hospital, prednisolone 60 mg and vidarabine antiviral therapy was started, and fever and headaches disappeared five days later. The ophthalmoplegia and optic neuritis, but not the anisocoria, gradually resolved during tapering of oral therapy. From the clinical findings and course, the cause of the orbital apex syndrome was most likely invasion of the orbital apex and cavernous sinus by the herpes virus through the trigeminal nerve ganglia.

Keywords: varicella zoster virus, orbital apex syndrome, herpes zoster ophthalmicus, complete ophthalmoplegia

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