Eye herpes is a common eye infection that affects approximately 1.5 million people around the world each year. Infact, it is one of the more common causes of infectious blindness in the USA and Canada. Keep reading to learn everything about eye Herpes.
What is Eye Herpes?
Eye herpes, aka HSV keratitis, is an eye condition caused by the type 1 herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus is also responsible for cold sores around the mouth and lips. Usually, people get eye herpes from a cold sore. When you touch your eyes with fingers contaminated with a cold sore, you get the herpes virus.
Epithelial keratitis is the most common type of eye herpes, affecting the clear front portion of your eyes, cornea, which causes inflammation, eye redness, tearing, etc. In rare cases, it may even cause vision loss.
Some people confuse eye herpes with “pink eye” infections, but you should not make this decision for yourself and seek expert help instead.
Types of eye herpes
Eye herpes is of 2 types epithelial keratitis and stromal keratitis. Epithelial keratitis is more common, and the virus is active under the thin outermost layer of the cornea called epithelial.
Stromal keratitis is the more serious type, and the virus affects the more deep layers of the cornea. With repeated occurrences, it can damage your cornea and cause blindness.
Which Body Parts Eye Herpes Effects?
Eye herpes affects different parts of the eye such as the eyelids, the clear layer on the front of your eye called the Cornea, the light-sensing sheet of cells in the back of your eye called the retina, the colored part of your eye named iris, the white part of your eye named sclera and conjunctiva, the light-sensing sheet of cells in the back of your eye, etc. Eye herpes can affect one eye or both.
Symptoms of Eye Herpes
Some of the common symptoms of eye herpes include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Swollen lymph nodes at the front of the ear
- Watery eye discharge
- Headache and lethargy
- Feeling like something stuck in the eye
- Blisters or rash on the eyelids
- Reduced or blurred vision
Causes Eye Herpes
Some of the causes of eye herpes include :
- Excessive sunlight exposure (UV rays)
- Major surgical or dental procedures
- Refractive surgery
- Emotional distress
- Weakened immune system
Is Eye Herpes Preventable?
While there is no confirmed proof, you can prevent eye herpes by keeping your hands clean. Do not touch your eyes without cleaning them first, especially when you have a cold sore. Also, do not touch contact lenses without cleaning hands and never overwear your contact lens.
Treatment for Herpes
Herpes treatments include oral medication acyclovir (Zovirax), antiviral therapy, steroid (anti-inflammatory) eye drops depending on your conditions.
With the right medical help, you can save your eyes and vision from eye herpes and avoid any serious damage. So, if you have any of the mentioned symptoms, contact your eye doctor to confirm whether it is eye here or pink eyes.