The adverse effect of corticosteroids on the clinical course of herpes simplex keratitis of man and animals is well documented.1 Previous diagnostic virus cultures and fluorescent antibody studies of patients suggested that in many untreated patients with herpes simplex keratitis, the lesions healed fairly promptly and that virus could only occasionally be cultured from corneas later than 2 or 3 weeks from the onset of symptoms.2,3 In corticosteroid-treated patients, however, it appeared that lesions persisted and that virus could be cultured from the epithelium much longer after the onset of symptoms. If, in fact, virus persisted in the epithelium following corticosteroid administration, this persistence might in itself be responsible for disastrous stromal changes and iritis either through an antigen-antibody reaction or by toxin production.
Since sufficiently precise information was not available on patients, the studies reported below concern the persistence of virus following corticosteroid therapy and the effect
KAUFMAN HE, MALONEY ED. Experimental Herpes Simplex Keratitis: The Effect of Corticosteroids and Epithelial Curettage. Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;66(1):99–102. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.00960010101022
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