What is herpes simplex eye infection? Herpes simplex is a virus. It can infect the eye and cause corneal inflammation and blindness. The cornea is the front clear part of the eye. The inflammation can keep coming back and scarring occurs. The virus can also infect the skin, mucous membranes and nerves.
Complaints of a herpes simplex eye inflammation
The disease usually starts on the surface of the cornea. The eye turns red, is irritated and sensitive to light. Most people don’t get the inflammation again after this. However, one in four people with corneal inflammation will develop inflammation again within two years.
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Course of a herpes simplex eye inflammation
The inflammation can penetrate deeper into the cornea and cause permanent scarring or inflammation in the eye. Sometimes chronic ulcers develop on the cornea, which heal with great difficulty.
After the original infection, the virus enters a resting stage. It resides in the nerves that come from the skin or the eye. Every now and then, for example during a cold, the virus becomes active again and then causes an eye infection or a cold sore again.
Being alert for eye inflammation (herpes simplex)
If you have an early inflammation, it is important to contact your ophthalmologist. Especially if you have experienced this before. Preventing a fever is important.
In the treatment of herpes simplex, inhibiting the virus is central. The type of treatment depends on the inflammation. Often antiviral eye medications are used in the form of eye drops or eye ointment. Sometimes it is necessary to scrape off the surface of the cornea to reduce the amount of virus particles. A corneal transplant may be necessary in the case of severe scarring resulting in impaired vision.
Prognosis of herpes simplex eye inflammation
In 50% of cases, it is limited to a one-time infection. In the remaining 50%, the infection returns one more time. Half of the latter group ends with chronic recurrent infection with possible gradual scarring. This can reduce visual acuity.
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