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The role of common ocular viral pathogens in Thygeson's Superficial Punctate Keratitis
  1. Paul P Connell (drpaulconnell{at},
  2. James O'Reilly,
  3. Suzie Coughlan,
  4. Louis MT Collum,
  5. William J Power
  1. Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Republic of Ireland
  2. Royal Victoria Eye and Ear, Republic of Ireland
  3. Virus Reference Laboratory, Republic of Ireland
  4. Royal Victoria Eye and Ear, Republic of Ireland
  5. Royal Victoria Eye and Ear, Republic of Ireland


    Background/aims: The aetiology of Thygeson's Superficial Punctate Keratitis (TSPK) remains elusive. A viral aetiology has been suggested by the absence of bacterial infection and the clinical resemblance to other viral keratopathies. In this study we report the results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis for the detection of HSV1 and 2, HZV, VZV and adenovirus from corneal epithelial samples from patients with active signs and symptoms of TSPK.

    Methods: Schirmer strip impressions were taken from the epithelium of 8 patients with a known history of TSPK and symptoms and signs of active disease. Three patients were recruited as positive controls (2 with Herpes simplex keratitis and one with Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus). Samples from a further 3 patients acted as negative controls. All 14 samples underwent Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for HSV 1, HSV 2, Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and Adenovirus.

    Results: DNA corresponding to the expected viral DNA was amplified from all three positive control samples. The 3 negative control samples showed no evidence of viral DNA. Similarly, all samples from patients with TSPK showed no evidence of the presence of HSV 1,HSV 2, VZV or Adenovirus.

    Conclusion: We conclude that HSV, VZV and Adenovirus are not present in the epithelium of patients with TSPK. These results are considered in the light of existing theories regarding the aetiology and treatment of this condition.

    • Keratitis
    • PCR
    • Thygesons
    • herpes simplex
    • virus

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