Zoster Eye Disease Study

Participants Screened

Participants Enrolled/Randomized



As of Dec-29-2017

What is the Zoster Eye Disease Study (ZEDS)?

  • A multi-center randomized clinical trial (RCT) to look at whether long-term treatment will be effective in decreasing eye disease and/or chronic pain in patients with a form of shingles, called Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus, which affects the eye. Shingles, also called zoster, is caused by localized reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox, known as the Varicella Zoster Virus.
  • The purpose of this study is to find out whether one year of a low dose of the oral antiviral medicine named valacyclovir reduces complications of shingles affecting the eye.
  • Patients who have had certain types of eye disease due to the shingles virus may be eligible to participate. These eye diseases include:
    1. Infection on the surface of the cornea, or the front of the eye.
    2. Inflammation and/or swelling, of the cornea.

Why is the Zoster Eye Disease Study (ZEDS) important?

Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus (HZO), or shingles of the eye, may be associated with severe and long-lasting eye disease and eye pain.  Shingles of the eye may permanently damage how the eye works and may reduce quality of life for millions of Americans.

Shingles of the eye can happen to anyone who has had chickenpox. Most people in the USA age 40 years or older have had chicken pox, whether or not they know it. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus stays in the body and lays dormant (asleep) in the nerve cells. At some point later in life, the immune system may weaken, allowing the virus to become active again and cause shingles, sometimes in the eye and sometimes in other parts of the body. Shingles usually causes a painful rash with blisters on one side of the body. About a million people in the U.S. develop Shingles/ Herpes Zoster every year. Although the risk of shingles increases with age, the largest number of cases occurs in people in their fifties.

Chronic viral infection after an attack of shingles contributes to complications, including eye disease and rarely even stroke. Long-term low dose oral antiviral medication reduces recurrences of herpes simplex virus infections in the eye and elsewhere. The ZEDS study aims to find out if this treatment also works in reducing complications of shingles/zoster of the eye, which is caused by a different, but related, virus.

To contact the ZEDS Coordinating Center, please call 1-844-698-ZEDS(9337)