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Herpes of the Eye

Tuesday, March 3rd 2015. | Health Eyes

Eye herpes, is a recurrent viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is the most common infection that can be transferred to the eye by touching your eye after contact with an active lesion. It can produce painful sores on the eyelid or eye surface and cause inflammation of the cornea. Mild infections of herpes are usually treated with topical and oral antiviral medication. Herpes of the Eye

Causes
Herpes keratitis, commonly known as eye herpes, is an inflammation of the cornea, the clear dome that covers the front part of the eye. Herpes keratitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes is a common family of viruses, and most people carry some sort of herpes virus in them for life. The condition is caused by a reactivation of an already present herpes simplex virus. Sometimes, the virus reactivates and causes further symptoms. It is not known why these viruses can cause keratitis in some people but not others.
Symptoms
Patients with HSV keratitis may complain of the following pain, photophobia, blurred vision, tearing and redness. A history of prior episodes in patients with recurrent disease may exist. Symptoms usually resemble those of common conjunctivitis, so the diagnosis of herpes simplex infection is frequently not made. The infection may resolve on its own or, especially if the infection reactivates, it can affect the cornea more extensively, and symptoms may be more severe. Symptoms of a reactivation include eye pain, blurred vision, tearing, redness, and sensitivity to bright light.
Treatment
The doctor may prescribe an antiviral eye drops or antiviral drug, can be taken by mouth. Treatment should be started as soon as possible. Infections that cause deep inflammation may require use of corticosteroid drops. Antiviral therapy, topical or oral, is an effective treatment of ophthalmic herpes infections. Because herpes is a virus, antibiotics such as penicillin are not an effective treatment. The only drugs that will work against herpes infections are antiviral medications. Your doctor will likely recommend antiviral pills to quicken healing and decrease the severity of the condition. It is important to keep using the medicine for as long as your doctor recommends. Even though the eye might start to look or feel better, the infection could come back if you stop taking your medicine too soon. Unfortunately, herpetic eye disease can be painful even after several days of treatment and even when the eye is starting to look better. This can be discouraging, but it does not mean that the treatment is a failure. The medications are working, and the pain will go away eventually.

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