Eye Herpes - Causes & Treatment
Eye herpes is a condition that affects more than half a million Americans. In general terms, about 2 people in 1,000 will develop eye herpes at some point in their lives with the 30-40 age group most commonly affected. Herpes infections that affect the eye are usually caused by the HSV type 1 virus which is also a common cause of blisters on the face.
The are of the eye that eye herpes most commonly affects is the cornea, although in some rare cases it can affect inner parts as well.
How to Identify Eye Herpes
Eye herpes symptoms can be experienced daily or sporadically. Additionally, the intensity of the symptoms varies which is why you should consult an eye doctor as soon as possible once you identify eye herpes as the cause of your symptoms. Failure to receive treatment can lead to permanent damage in your eyes. In the image to the left, you can see what herpes looks like. Eye herpes looks very similar.
Eye Herpes Symptoms
- Eye pain
- Light sensitivity- Blurred vision
- Painful sores on eyelid (sometimes even on the eye itself)
- Bloodshot eyes
When to Call 911
Although eye herpes is a chronic condition that progresses relatively slowly, there are times when you should receive medical care as soon as possible. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate help:
- Severe eye pain
- High fever
- Changes in vision
How is Eye Herpes Treated?
After diagnosis by an eye doctor, eye herpes is usually treated with antiviral eye drops or orally administered drugs such as Acyclovir.
Can the Infection Recur?
Some people experience episodes of eye herpes throughout their lives. This only happens if the virus reactivates from time to time. Approximately, half the people who develop eye herpes will have a recurrence within ten years. What causes the reappearance of eye herpes is unknown, although some people believe that exposure to strong sunlight might be the culprit. Whether true or not, it's always a good idea to use sunglasses when outside.