Peripheral Ulcerative Keratitis Secondary to Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

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To report a unique case of peripheral ulcerative keratitis secondary to hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated cryoglobulinemia and vasculitis and its pharmacological and surgical treatment and 2-year follow-up.


A 52-year-old woman presented with unilateral eye pain and photophobia, arthralgia, remnants of a maculopapular rash, and subsequently facial numbness several weeks later. Her best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA) in the affected eye was 20/80. Slit-lamp examination revealed severe superior corneal thinning without infiltrate. Corneal ulceration worsened until 10% of the cornea remained. Laboratory workup was positive for rheumatoid factor and revealed significantly decreased C4 complement, and HBV serology was positive.


Clinical history, examinations, and laboratory results suggest HBV-associated cryoglobulinemia and vasculitis. Management included prednisone, cyclophosphamide, and mycophenolate mofetil for immunosuppression and tenofovir for HBV treatment. Conjunctival resection and a glue patch were used to reduce inflammation and stabilize corneal melt. BSCVA improved after treatment was initiated. Two years after initial presentation, her BSCVA is 20/30−2, significantly improved from her vision at presentation.


Diagnosis of peripheral ulcerative keratitis requires thorough history and physical examinations given the numerous causes. Prompt treatment including immunosuppressive medication and, in this case, antiviral medication is crucial to preventing serious visual consequences including corneal perforation and blindness.

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