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Eye herpes

What is eye herpes?

Herpes simplex keratitis is an infection of the cornea of ​​the eye caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

The clinical condition is also known as eye herpes. It should be treated by an ophthalmologist, as complications often occur.

What are the symptoms?

Sufferers of herpes simplex keratitis usually have the following complaints:

  • Eye pain;
  • Sensitivity to bright light;
  • Blurred vision;< /strong>
  • Watery eyes;
  • Redness of the white part of the eye;

Symptoms usually resemble those of ordinary conjunctivitis, so a diagnosis of herpes simplex keratitis is often not made.

The infection is usually self-limiting and goes away on its own, but if it recurs it can affect the cornea more and the symptoms will be much more pronounced.

Symptoms in a relapse are usually the same as in the initial infection, but are much more pronounced. In rare cases, re-infection can cause swelling of the cornea that severely blurs vision.

The more often the infection recurs, the more likely more serious damage to the cornea. Several repeated infections can lead to the formation of deep ulcers and permanent damage, as well as loss of sensitivity of the eye to touch.

The herpes simplex virus can also cause blood vessels to grow inside the cornea and this results in significant vision impairment

What are the causes of eye herpes?

Herpes simplex keratitis, more commonly known as eye herpes, is an inflammation of the cornea – a transparent, smooth tissue that covers 1/6 from the volume of the outer shell of the eye.

This type of herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes are a family of viruses. Most people carry at least one type of this family of viruses.

Usually the virus is in a latent state and they do not suspect that they are carriers at all. The clinical condition herpes simplex keratitis is caused by the reactivation or initial activation of a herpes simplex virus already present in the body.

Herpes simplex virus is never destroyed by the body after the initial or primary infection. After the primary infection, the virus remains latent in the nerves.

Sometimes, for example with a weakened immune system, the virus reactivates and additional symptoms develop in its carrier.

Although it is suspected, it is not yet known why some people develop eye herpes and others do not. The virus usually affects one eye and is among the most common causes of blindness in one eye worldwide.

Treatment of eye herpes

For eye pain, seek specialized medical help. And in a home environment you can:

  • You flush your eye with water;
  • If you think you have a foreign body in your eye, do not rub it. This can seriously damage your eyes due to the friction you will cause in trying to remove the foreign body. Do not try to remove a foreign body from the eye or the eyes of another person, but seek the help of an ophthalmologist.
  • For cases of mild discomfort in the eyes, you can take standard pain relievers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.

After a diagnosis of herpes simplex keratitis is made, the ophthalmologist may prescribe antiviral eye drops trifluridine or an oral antiviral such as acyclovir. Treatment should be started as soon as possible.

Infections that cause deeper inflammation may require the use of corticosteroid drops or other eye dilators such as atropine or scopolamine. < /p>

From time to time, the ophthalmologist may need to wash the eye to remove the viruses and viral antigens that cause keratitis from the cornea.

How to protect yourself?

Prevention and appropriate protective measures are extremely important, especially if you have had previous cases of eye herpes.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from eye herpes and reduce your risk of re-infections:

  1. Avoid contact lenses: As already mentioned, wearing contact lenses can increase the risk of herpes simplex virus infection. If you have experienced an infection or are at high risk, you may need to stop wearing contact lenses.

  2. Maintain good hand hygiene: Regular hand washing with soap and warm water is essential to prevent the virus from being transferred from the hands to the eyes. Be careful not to touch your eyes with your unwashed hands.

  3. Avoid contact with infected objects: The virus can also be transmitted through common objects such as towels, chemicals, etc. Avoid sharing such items with other people, especially if you know they have been infected.

  4. Keep out of the sun: Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause reactivation of the herpes simplex virus. Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from excessive sunlight.

  5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle can boost your immune system and help you fight off viral infections more effectively. Include in your diet healthy foods, regular physical activity and reduce stress.

  6. Beware of bad colds and infections: Herpes simplex virus can be activated when the immune system is weakened, so it is important to protect yourself from infections and get the vaccinations, that are right for you.

  7. At the slightest signs of infection, seek medical attention: If you notice the slightest signs of infection, such as pain, irritation, redness or discharge from the eyes, consult with an experienced optometrist or ophthalmologist. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the severity of the infection and prevent its spread.

Remember that eye herpes is a serious disease, and it is important to follow the recommendations of specialists to maintain your vision and general health.

Primary infection can be extremely painful and can leave lasting effects. Follow precautions and consult a doctor if you have questions or concerns about eye herpes.

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