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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Bilateral herpetic keratitis presenting with unilateral neurotrophic keratitis in pemphigus foliaceus: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Hee K Yang, Young K Han, Won R Wee, Jin H Lee, Ji W Kwon
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-328) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

HKY and YKH interpreted our patient's medical history and were major contributors to writing the manuscript. WRW and JWK performed the clinical observation and treatment of our patient. JHL revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



We report a case of bilateral herpetic keratitis developing after rapid oral corticosteroid tapering in a patient with pemphigus foliaceus, which was followed by unilateral neurotrophic keratitis that was treated with amniotic membrane transplantation.

Case presentation

A 71-year-old Korean man developed bilateral herpetic keratitis one week after rapid tapering of systemic corticosteroid. He had been on high-dose oral corticosteroid and azathioprine therapy for six months for treatment of pemphigus foliaceus. Topical acyclovir ointment was prescribed. A week later, our patient's right eye had healed, but his left eye showed increased stromal edema with enlarged epithelial defects. He was prescribed oral acyclovir with topical broad-spectrum antibiotics applied to his left eye. The stromal edema cleared within a week but the epithelial defect remained unchanged. An amniotic membrane transplantation was performed on our patient's left eye, and his epithelial defect had totally healed three weeks later.


Patients with autoimmune disease or who are on immunosuppressive therapy have a higher chance of developing bilateral herpetic keratitis. Although rare, the condition may be followed by unilateral neurotrophic keratitis. Rapid corticosteroid tapering may act as a triggering factor for viral infection or reactivation of herpes.

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