Ocular herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. It is the same virus that causes cold sores. Eye herpes can be dangerous if not treated and can caude blindness, so it is a very serious disease to treat correctly.
The herpes virus is very contagious and is spread from an infected person during and outbreak to a non-infected individual. The herpes virus loves mucus membranes, so it is very common for herpes to be seen in the mouth, nose, eyes, and genitalia. The virus will lay dorment in the nerves and in the spinal cord when you are not having an outbreak.
Usually, the HSV-1 will cause cold sores around the mouth. But there are circumstances when it will travel back from the spinal cord to the eye, instead of the mouth. This will cause herpes of the eye. There are three main types of the infection when it affects the eye:
Depending on the type, several symptoms will become noticeable. Another form of herpes simplex that affects the eyes is the herpes retinitis this affects the back of the eye and retina.
Herpes keratitis is the usual type of infection that affects the eye because of the herpes virus. It is also relatively mild, given the fact that only the epithelium (top layer of the cornea) will be affected. The symptoms will not last long and the area will heal quickly and without any scaring. Antiviral medication that comes in eye drops is advised to prevent complications.
Stromal keratitis is another form of ocular herpes. It is a rare condition, but it can have serious consequences, including blinding. The immune system may take a while to react to the presence of the virus and so, lower layers of the cornea may be affected. This can lead to scarring, blurry vision or even blindness. Reports show that the vast majority of corneal scarring which leads to blindness is the result of a herpes infection.
Iridocyclitis is another rare condition that occurs when the immune system takes even longer to respond and the virus travels all through the eye, infecting the iris and surrounding areas. Ocular pain, blurry vision, inflammation and sensitivity to light are symptoms of this form of ocular herpes.
Other symptoms associated with the herpes simplex virus affecting the eye are: irritation, swelling around the eyes, tearing, redness, watery discharge and tearing. Any of these symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately and start following the according treatment. There are 50,000 new cases of eye herpes each year.
All About Herpes - As a sufferer of herpes myself, I have decided to add a section to this site discussing the Herpes virus and how to treat and prevent outbreaks.
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