NYMC Faculty Publications

Acute Retinal Necrosis and Contralateral Cutaneous Eruption After the Shingles Vaccine

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Journal Title

Retinal Cases & Brief Reports

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Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



Physical Therapy

Second Department



PURPOSE: To the best of our knowledge, we present a rare case report describing an occurrence of acute retinal necrosis in an otherwise healthy individual who received the shingles vaccine.

METHODS: Observational case report.

PATIENT: A 63-year-old healthy and immunocompetent white man presented with change of vision in the left eye after blunt trauma. A diagnosis of corneal abrasion was made. During follow-up, a detailed history discovered a progressive deterioration in vision over the past few weeks. Three months before presentation, he had received the shingles vaccine (Zostavax); 1 month before presentation, he reported an episode of varicella skin eruption on the face.

RESULTS: On examination, the patient was found to have acute retinal necrosis with white satellite lesions in the fundus of the left eye. An anterior chamber paracentesis and polymerase chain reaction confirmed the diagnosis of varicella-zoster virus.

CONCLUSION: Varicella-zoster virus reactivation after shingles vaccination may predispose both immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals to herpes-zoster ophthalmicus, leading to acute retinal necrosis.