UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Visual Diagnosis

Title: What is the diagnosis ? (Case by Dr. Harry Achterberg)

Keywords: Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus; Hutchinson's sign (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/6/2017 by Hussain Alhashem, MBBS (Updated: 5/27/2024)
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24-year-old male with a history of Wagner's Granulomatosis, currently on Cellcept (Mycophenolate Mofetil) and high dose prednisolone, presented with two days of sore throat, malaise and the lesions shown in the picture. What is the diagnosis?



Answer: Herpes Zoster with Hutchinson's sign. 

-  This patient is presenting with a well demarcated eruptive skin lesion involving the tip of the nose and half of the lip and palate. This lesion is suggestive of Herpes Zoster with Hutchinson's sign. 

- Hutchinson's sign is associated with a high rate of corneal denervation and ocular involvement. Some studies suggest that up to 100% of patients with Hutchinson's sign will present with a serious intraocular pathology.  

- In addition to starting systemic antiviral therapy, all patients who present with Hutchinson's sign need an immediate and complete ophthalmologic evaluation including a complete slit lamp examination. 


Adam, R. S., Vale, N., Bona, M. D., Hasanee, K., & Farrokhyar, F. (2010). Triaging herpes zoster ophthalmicus patients in the emergency department: do all patients require referral?. Academic Emergency Medicine17(11), 1183-1188.

Van Dyk, M., & Meyer, D. (2010). Hutchinson's sign as a marker of ocular involvement in HIV-positive patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus. SAMJ: South African Medical Journal100(3), 172-174.