Archipelago Keratitis. A Clinical Variant of Recurrent Herpetic Keratitis?

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Objective: To describe archipelago keratitis, a presumed clinical variant of herpetic epithelial keratitis. Design: Case series. Participants: A series of 6 patients with an unusual form of superficial keratitis. Methods: History, including age, gender, clinical evolution, and treatment; slit-lamp biomicroscopy findings; in vivo confocal microscopy findings; and corneal epithelial scrapings were analyzed. Main Outcome Measures: Clinical ocular examination, a diagnostic workup including corneal scraping for herpesvirus polymerase chain reaction, in vivo confocal microscopy, and therapeutic outcome. Results: The authors describe a series of 6 patients with keratitis consisting of foci of epithelial erosions associated with subepithelial nummular inflammatory infiltrates and disposed in a radial, centripetal, archipelagolike pattern originating from the limbus. All the patients had a past history of herpetic epithelial keratitis, herpetic vesicles on the ipsilateral lid, or both. Polymerase chain reaction-based screening for herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 in corneal scrapings demonstrated positive results in 2 patients. In vivo corneal confocal microscopy revealed focal areas of hyperreflective epithelial cells and hyperreflective subepithelial dendritic structures overlying activated keratocytes. All the patients improved with oral valacyclovir treatment followed by topical steroid therapy. Conclusions: Archipelago keratitis may be a new clinical variant of herpetic keratitis, reflecting herpetic dissemination from the limbus to the center of the cornea. © 2007 American Academy of Ophthalmology.




Gabison, E. E., Alfonsi, N., Doan, S., Racine, L., Sultan, G., Baudouin, C., & Hoang-Xuan, T. (2007). Archipelago Keratitis. A Clinical Variant of Recurrent Herpetic Keratitis? Ophthalmology, 114(11), 2000–2005.

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