Eye Herpes (Ocular): Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
What is eye herpes?
One essential organ that makes up the visual system is the eye. It is tagged as the windows of the soul, from which anything that the eyes see regulates beauty and wonder. That is enough evidence that the eyes play a very significant role in all human beings. It is why anything that infects and impairs this organ is already considered a serious medical condition.
A particular illness that damages the human eye is called eye herpes. It is also recognized by the term ocular herpes, a type of eye condition caused by a certain virus (herpes simplex virus). It doesn’t just invite the development of sores in or outside the eyes but also affects one’s vision and range of view. It could lead to optic problems, or worse, blindness.
List of signs and symptoms of eye herpes
For this specific medical condition, its signs of illness are similar to other forms of infections associated with herpes. However, the difference is the location of these symptoms. This condition also involves a more serious set of infectious evidence, which can severely damage one’s eyesight. The symptoms are also categorized based on their severity on the eyes. Consider the following:
- Mild pain inside the eyes
- Redness or inflammation
- Unending pain within the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Extreme inflammation in either of the two eyes
- Discharge of mucus
- Blurred vision
Note that these symptoms can vary. Regardless of symptomatic location, the condition can also occur only in one eye. That is why treatment must be administered immediately so that the uninfected eye will not get harmed. Other than that, it is important to indicate that sores or blisters can also appear near the eyelids, and some are even on the eye pockets. Observe your eyes and look for any signs of sores.
Two major types of ocular herpes
Just like the virus itself, this medical condition is also associated with two major types. In knowing which type is corrupting your eyes, healthcare professionals will also recognize the right treatment to be administered. Here are two major types of ocular herpes:
- Epithelial keratitis – This type affects the outermost layer of an eye part, which happens to be the cornea.
- Stromal keratitis – This form of eye infection also affects the cornea, but it delves deeper and can cause a more serious eye impairment.
Among these two types, stromal keratitis is recognized as the most severe in terms of its impact on the eyes. Its damaging capability can bring about blindness or total loss of eyesight.
What are the causes of this infection?
The herpes simplex virus is identified to have two main types, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Between the two, the first type of this infection is recognized as the primary cause of eye herpes. Why is this so?
First, HSV-1 usually prevails in the face. It is noted to develop sores or blisters. When an infected person accidentally touches these sores and then rubs his/her eyes, the virus can easily enter the eyes. This is the easiest way that the infection can travel and infect that specific visual organ.
In some cases, when outbreaks happen, eye herpes is one of the expected conditions to happen. Since the virus does not disappear from the body even after serious medical treatments, it can reactivate and cause different health corruptions.
How is the condition diagnosed?
First, the ophthalmologist will conduct an eye examination by observing the outside of the eye or any part of the organ that is visible. This process is done to identify the presence of active sores or blisters. It also helps the ophthalmologist to know the severity of the condition.
When a physical eye examination is done, the ophthalmologist will likely use a slit lamp to have a clearer view of the eyes and their deeper layers. This microscope will give the ophthalmologist a wider picture of the condition of the eyes. In some cases, eye drops are also used to know the condition of the iris and the retina.
Forms of treatments to be administered
In treating this condition, antiviral medicines are used to lessen the viruses’ functions and objectives in corrupting the eyes. Right after a diagnosis, and when it’s truly proven that you have eye herpes, a prescription is provided by the healthcare professional containing the right antiviral drug to consume. One of the major drugs used for this treatment is Acyclovir (also known as Zovirax).
Other than antiviral medicines, eye drops are also prescribed to alleviate the pain and discomfort within the eyes. Only use the eye drops as specified by the healthcare professional. Avoid overdosage as it can cause other eye complications. The said treatment will also mitigate the soreness and irritation caused by the condition’s symptoms.
How can you prevent ocular herpes?
Preventing this medical condition should be an easy thing to do. First, keep your eyes clean and the area surrounding it by always washing your face with clean water. Avoid rubbing your eyes as the hands can carry viruses, bacteria, and germs.
Furthermore, since this condition can welcome other eye complications, it is a must that you consume your prescribed antiviral drugs on a daily basis. Aside from treating the infection, it can also minimize the reoccurrence of this condition once an outbreak occurs.
Keeping yourself healthy is also a necessity since a weakened immune system can trigger the reactivation of the herpes simplex virus. Prevent outbreaks to prevent eye herpes.