Herpes simplex is an eye disease that involves an infection of the nearby skin, mucous membranes, and nerves. There are two types that can afflict an individual. Type 1 is the most common form and mostly affects the face through cold sores and blisters. It is contracted by touching an active herpes sore and then making contact with your eye. Type 2, on the other hand, is sexually transmitted. Both types can cause recurring infections in your eyes and, since they are contagious, should be treated appropriately.
Causes & Symptoms
Once the herpes simplex has reached the eye, you may develop an infection in the eyelids, conjunctiva, and cornea. The disease typically begins on the surface of the cornea and if not treated, can spread deeper and cause inflammation and potential scarring. The infection may even cause chronic ulcer outbreaks. Symptoms of herpes simplex include eye redness, soreness or pain, tearing, irritation, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.
Treatment for Herpes Simplex Eye Disease
After the first outbreak of the disease, you have a 50% chance of developing another flare-up in the future. This can occur anywhere from weeks to years later. While there is no cure for herpes, our team at Virginia Eye Consultants can help you control the recurring episodes affecting your eyes.
Treatment for herpes simplex will depend on the severity of your condition. If you have a mild case, your doctor may recommend a topical or oral antiviral medication. It is possible that you may need the infected area scraped to remove the diseased cells and prevent further damage. Should you suffer from severe scarring and vision loss, you may need a corneal transplant.
To help control the ocular herpes outbreaks, you should practice the following:
- Avoid contact with your eyes when you have an active sore.
- Do not use steroid eye drops, as these can spread the virus.
- Discontinue wear of contact lenses.
- Visit your eye doctor right away if your symptoms return.
Contact Virginia Eye Consultants
If you think you may have contracted herpes simplex eye disease, or are seeking treatment for your condition, please contact our office, and one of our friendly staff members will help you set up your next appointment.
The Doctors at Virginia Eye Consultants have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.