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Practice Patterns in the Initial Management of Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus in the United States.

Cornea 2023 March 24
PURPOSE: The aims of this study were to examine the trends in the initial management of herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) in the United States from 2010 to 2018 and compare them with the treatment preferences of corneal specialists.

METHODS: A retrospective, observational deidentified cohort study was conducted on individuals enrolled in the OptumLabs Data Warehouse who had a new diagnosis of HZO from 1/1/2010 to 12/31/2018. An online survey ascertaining HZO management perspectives was distributed to The Cornea Society listserv. The main outcome assessed was proportion of cases with systemic antiviral prescriptions, eye care provider involvement, and follow-up visits after the initial HZO diagnosis.

RESULTS: Approximately 50% of patients received systemic antivirals the day of initial HZO diagnosis or within 7 days (45.6% and 53.7%, respectively). Most initial diagnoses were made by ophthalmologists (45.0%), followed by optometrists (19.2%). Referral rate to ophthalmology within a year of initial diagnosis was 38.6%. 48.7% cases had at least 1 follow-up visit with any type of provider within 30 days.Our survey of corneal specialists found 97% would prescribe systemic antivirals to those with ocular involvement, but 66% would prescribe antivirals to those without ocular or eyelid involvement. Seventy percent supported all patients having follow-up with an eye care provider within a month.

CONCLUSIONS: HZO antiviral therapies seem to be underprescribed in the United States, referral rates to ophthalmology are low, and follow-up is suboptimal, which are not aligned with recommendations from corneal specialists. More research is needed to establish standardized guidelines for treatment, referral, and follow-up with ophthalmology for HZO.

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