Rare instances of corneal inflammation following administration of the varicella zoster virus vaccine, may warrant discussion between physicians and patients with a history of eye inflammation prior to subsequent vaccinations, reports University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers.

A team of researchers studied case reports from international registries and found at least 20 cases of keratitis in children and adults within 1 month of receiving the chickenpox and shingles vaccine. Symptoms of keratitis developed within 24 days of vaccination for adults and within 14 days for pediatric patients.

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Data was obtained from the National Registry of Drug-Induced Ocular Side Effects that gathers information on adverse ocular events associated with drugs, chemicals, or herbs. Specifically this information comes from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spontaneous reporting database, the WHO spontaneous reporting database, and physician reports.

“While this is a rare occurrence, it’s important for physicians to know when giving the vaccine to individuals who have a history of the condition because it could be reactivated by the vaccine,” stated Frederick W. Fraunfelder, MD. If these patients are vaccinated, researchers recommend close monitoring to ensure they don’t experience corneal inflammation or additional scarring. 

For more information visit medicine.missouri.edu.