A “shining” example of interstitial keratitis
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A 67-year-old woman with a history of renal cell carcinoma presented to her primary ophthalmologist with conjunctival injection and blurred vision OD. She was diagnosed with viral conjunctivitis and ocular hypertension OD and treated with a 1-week course of tobramycin/dexamethasone QID OD and brimonidine/timolol BID OD. One week later, she had persistently elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) OD and was diagnosed with occludable angles OU. She was treated with bilateral laser peripheral iridotomies with improvement in her intraocular pressure and symptoms. Six months later, she presented to her primary ophthalmologist complaining of photophobia, decreased vision OD, and a ‘spot on my right eye’. The provider noted an ‘intrastromal vascular growth’ OD and referred the patient to us for evaluation.

On examination of the right eye, the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was 20/40 and intraocular pressure was 18. The nasal cornea of the right eye was very thickened and had both an infiltrate and a dense patch of stromal vascularization, giving the involved quadrant of the cornea a ‘salmon’ colored appearance. Radiating lines were also present, giving the central edge of the corneal lesion a ‘sunburst’ appearance. The sensation was absent over the affected region of the cornea. Anterior segment ultrasound demonstrated a thickened peripheral cornea with iridio-corneal touch. Given the appearance, loss of corneal sensation, and history of an acute intraocular pressure rise in the affected eye we made a diagnosis of herpetic stromal keratitis. The patient was started on valacyclovir 1g PO TID and prednisolone acetate 1gtt QID OD.

At her one-month follow-up, the patient noted an improvement in her vision and photophobia. BCVA was 20/30 OD and intraocular pressure was 18 OD. The corneal infiltrate, swelling, and neovascularization had improved, but the radiating lines (now ‘steel wool’ in appearance) in the mid stroma were more distinct. Over the next two months, the patient continued to improve during a monitored reduction of valacyclovir and prednisolone acetate.