Antiviral treatment for acute retinal necrosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Ikhwanuliman Putera, Asri Salima Ridwan, Metta Dewi, Carlos Cifuentes-González, William Rojas-Carabali, Ratna Sitompul, Lukman Edwar, Made Susiyanti, Yulia Aziza, Carlos Pavesio, Soon Phaik Chee, Padmamalini Mahendradas, Jyotirmay Biswas, John H. Kempen, Vishali Gupta, Alejandra de-la-Torre, Rina La Distia Nora, Rupesh Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Acute retinal necrosis is a progressive intraocular inflammatory syndrome characterized by diffuse necrotizing retinitis that can lead to a poor visual outcome, mainly from retinal detachment. The antiviral treatment approach for acute retinal necrosis varies as there are no established guidelines. We summarize the outcomes of acute retinal necrosis with available antiviral treatments. Electronic searches were conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, and Google Scholar for interventional and observational studies. Meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the pooled proportion of the predefined selected outcomes. This study was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42022320987). Thirty-four studies with a total of 963 participants and 1,090 eyes were included in the final analysis. The estimated varicella-zoster virus and herpes simplex virus polymerase chain reaction-positive cases were 63% (95% CI: 55–71%) and 35% (95% CI: 28–42%), respectively. The 3 main antiviral treatment approaches identified were oral antivirals alone, intravenous antivirals alone, and a combination of systemic (oral or intravenous) and intravitreal antivirals. The overall pooled estimated proportions of visual acuity improvement, recurrence, and retinal detachment were 37% (95% CI: 27–47%), 14% (95% CI: 8–21%), and 43% (95% CI: 38–50%), respectively. Patients treated with systemic and intravitreal antivirals showed a trend towards better visual outcomes than those treated with systemic antivirals (oral or intravenous) alone, even though this analysis was not statistically significant (test for subgroup differences P = 0.83).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages18
JournalSurvey of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Acute retinal necrosis
  • Acyclovir
  • Foscarnet
  • Treatment
  • Valacyclovir


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