Purpose: To determine distinguishing features of the clinical characteristics of anterior uveitis (AU) caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Design: Retrospective, multicenter case series. Methods: Consecutive patients with herpetic AU examined at 11 tertiary centers in Japan between January 2012 and December 2017 and who were followed for ≥3 months were evaluated. Diagnosis was made by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HSV, VZV, or CMV in the aqueous humor, or classical signs of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Results: This study enrolled 259 herpetic AU patients, including PCR-proven HSV-AU (30 patients), VZV-AU (50), and CMV-AU (147), and herpes zoster ophthalmicus (32). All HSV-AU and VZV-AU patients were unilateral, while 3% of CMV-AU patients were bilateral. Most HSV-AU and VZV-AU patients were sudden onset with an acute clinical course, while CMV-AU had a more insidious onset and chronic course. There were no significant differences for all surveyed symptoms, signs, and complications between HSV-AU and VZV-AU. However, significant differences were detected for many items between CMV-AU and the other two herpetic AU types. Ocular hyperemia and pain, blurring of vision, ciliary injection, medium-to-large keratic precipitates (KPs), cells and flare in the anterior chamber, and posterior synechia significantly more often occurred in HSV-AU and VZV-AU vs CMV-AU. In contrast, small KPs, coin-shaped KPs, diffuse iris atrophy, elevated intraocular pressure, and glaucoma surgery were significantly more frequent in CMV-AU vs HSV-AU and VZV-AU. Conclusion: This multicenter, retrospective study identified distinguishing features of HSV-AU, VZV-AU, and CMV-AU.
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