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Herpes Simplex Keratitis

herpes simplex keratitis

Defining “herpes simplex keratitis”

Herpes keratitis is referred to as one severe complication associated with HSV (herpes simplex virus). It is generally described as an infection involving the eye/s. This medical condition usually concerns the cornea. Herpes simplex keratitis is treated by means of consuming antiviral drugs. Without proper and immediate medical care, infected individuals will likely lose their vision or eyesight.

From the term keratitis, this condition refers to the inflammation or impairment of the eyes’ cornea. It usually yields intense pain on the eye/s and can progress from acute to chronic. Since the virus that causes this infection is very common in humans, herpes simplex keratitis is also very likely to occur if no appropriate treatment is administered to stop the virus from corrupting its host.

What are the signs and symptoms of this condition?

The signs and symptoms of this condition depend on the frequency of the infection, whether it be acute or chronic. Additionally, some of these warnings can differ based on primary, as well as recurrent outbreaks. Here are the following signs of illnesses with regards to this life-threatening condition

  • Lacrimation – abnormal secretion of tears
  • Photophobia – discomfort involving the eyes (usually happens when there is too much light)
  • Conjunctival hyperemia – eye inflammation

These mentioned warnings are recognized as signs of primary illness. Since the impurity does not vanish after a series of treatments, it will reoccur. Consider the following warnings of this condition should the infection reactivates and outbreaks happen again:

  • Eye pain
  • Redness
  • Rash
  • Blurry eyesight or vision
  • Discharge
  • Light sensitivity

Causes of herpes simplex keratitis

With knowledge about the types of this infection, it is safe to say that the first type is the main reason why herpes simplex keratitis happens. The symptoms of the type 1 infection usually appear on the face, such as sores and blisters. When a person touches these sores, from which the eyes are accidentally rubbed, transmission is likely to happen. That is why keeping the hands clean and preventing the activity rubbing the eyes during a herpes outbreak is a must.

Diagnosing the condition

The very first thing that a healthcare professional does to know the severity of this condition is by doing an examination of the eyes. It will be observed and checked for any redness or inflammation surrounding the cornea. Sometimes, a laboratory test may also be performed to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

One of the most significant tools that ophthalmologists use in an eye examination is a slit lamp. It is a type of microscope tool that gives the ophthalmologist a clearer view of the eyes. It magnifies the parts of the eyes, enabling ophthalmologists to see where the damage is. This is also what healthcare professionals use in diagnosing herpes simplex keratitis.

Treatment and Prevention

The medical care to be administered involving the herpes simplex keratitis will depend on the severity of the condition. If the infection is considered mild, antiviral drugs will be prescribed. Apart from using orally-ingested medicines, topicals are also used, such as eye drops.

If there is a need for a corneal transplant, that means that the infection has become severe. This is administered to avoid complete vision loss. Furthermore, it helps in keeping the eyes healthy and away from any infection.

If a herpes outbreak occurs, make sure that you do not rub your eyes to avoid viral transmission. Furthermore, if you notice that your eyes are itchy and tingling during the outbreak, consult your nearest ophthalmologist immediately. Furthermore, if a prescription is provided, follow it strictly.

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