Br J Ophthalmol 86:475-476 doi:10.1136/bjo.86.4.475
  • Letter

Chickenpox neuroretinitis in a 9 year old child

  1. J R MacKinnon,
  2. T Lim Joon,
  3. J E Elder
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Jane R MacKinnon, Department of Ophthalmology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK; janermackinnon{at}
  • Accepted 17 October 2001

Chickenpox in children is usually thought of as a benign infectious disease with few ocular complications. Posterior segment involvement from primary varicella zoster infection has rarely been reported in children. We describe the clinical features and visual outcome of an unusual case of neuroretinitis presenting in a 9 year old child.

Case report

An immunocompetent 9 year old boy acquired primary varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection from his sibling and developed the characteristic exanthematous vesicular rash. Four days after the onset of the rash he woke with discomfort in his right eye and described his vision as being “all grey” on that side. He presented to the emergency department the same day and was found to have a visual acuity of 3/6 on the right and 3/3 on the left (logMAR). A relative afferent pupillary defect (RAPD) was present on the right. His anterior segment was quiet with no vitritis; however, he had slight macular thickening and a subtle cherry red spot on funduscopy, along with some mild peripapillary swelling and disc haemorrhage.

On review in the ophthalmology clinic 2 days later his vision had reduced …