PURPOSE: To describe herpes zoster ophthalmicus in relation to the anatomy, pathophysiology, course, diagnostic considerations, and management for the primary care provider. DATA SOURCES: Actual case study supplemented with an extensive review of current scientific and psychosocial literature. CONCLUSIONS: Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) is an extension of a herpes zoster (HZ) infection involving the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve, which results from the reactivation of a latent varicella virus among individuals who had contracted a varicella infection sometime within their lifespan. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Due to the vague presenting symptomology of HZO, many patients may be misdiagnosed lessening the chance for prompt diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Educational awareness, listening to psychosocial concerns of the patients, and immediate referral can decrease potential chronic side effects of the disorder.