Herpes simplex is a common virus that can infect your eye. Herpes eye infections usually affect a patient’s cornea, or the outer clear part of the eye. If left untreated, a severe case of ocular herpes can lead to blindness.
Redness, sensitivity and pain coming from an area on the cornea are the common symptoms of this infection. Your eye doctor may detect an ulcer, or an open sore, on the cornea or surrounding tissue. When an ulcer is detected, eye medications are prescribed to treat the ulcer and make the patient comfortable. Fortunately, most herpes simplex infections can be resolved quickly through treatment.
There are three different forms of eye herpes: herpes keratitis, stromal keratitis, and iridocyclitis. Herpes keratitis only affects the top layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, and will heal quickly without scarring. When the infection reaches deeper into the cornea, we call it stromal keratitis. This is a rare form of ocular herpes that can lead to corneal scarring and loss of vision. The most severe form of ocular herpes is iridocyclitis, which inflames the iris and other tissues surrounding the cornea. In order to protect your eyes from the more serious kinds of herpes, make sure to visit us at Cornea Consultants of Albany at the first sign of trouble in your eye.
There are two types of herpes simplex viruses; herpes simplex type 1 and type 2. Herpes simplex type 1 is the most common form; it is the same virus that causes cold sores on your lips. In some people, herpes eye infection is caused by herpes simplex type 2, which more commonly causes genital herpes. A herpes simplex infection is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam and through special testing. Herpetic eye infections are most often seen in children, often spread through self-contamination when a person touches a cold sore in their mouth and then rubs their eye. Herpes can also lie dormant in the eye until a change to the body like a fever, sunburn, surgical procedure, or other stress-related factors weaken the body and create an outbreak of the infection. If you notice anything out of the ordinary happening in your eyes, please call the Cornea Consultants and schedule an appointment.