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May 2014

Progressive Outer Retinal Necrosis (PORN): A Catchy Acronym But Is the Anatomy Correct? The Salient Observation of Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa
  • 2Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa
  • 3Florida Retina Consultants, Lakeland
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;132(5):651-652. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.120

Progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN) describes a subset of herpetic viral retinopathy characterized by a rapid clinical course and a distinctive pattern of retinal opacification. The condition is most often caused by varicella-zoster virus. Although easily remembered because of its acronym, the localization of early necrosis in the outer retina has never been confirmed histologically. One of the few pathology reports of PORN before it reaches the stage of full-thickness retinal necrosis actually shows relative preservation of the outer retina in an illustration but fails to comment about this finding.1 We describe the histological findings in an eye with classic PORN that Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD, once argued the site of initial necrosis was likely the inner retina.