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Beltina.org The Eyes Ocular Herpes SimplexOcular Herpes SimplexOcular Herpes Simplex - an INFECTION of the eyes with HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS 1 (HSV-1), which causes cold sores, or herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), which causes GENITAL HERPES.
About half of people who have one outbreak of ocular herpes simplex will experience a second; about 20 percent have persistently recurring infections, ranking ocular herpes simplex as the leading infectious cause of corneal destruction. The eyelids, the mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and the under surface of the eyelid, and the cornea are the parts of the eye ocular herpes generally infects. Keratitis: One of the first signs of infection is inflammation of the cornea, or keratitis.
Iridocyclitis: Another serious form of ocular herpes is iridocyclitis, the inflammation of the iris and ciliary body of the eye. Herpes retinitis: When this infection occurs in the retina or the inside lining of the back of the eye, it is known as herpes retinitis. Common symptoms for ocular herpes are pain in and around the eye, tearing, redness, scratchiness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and sometimes vision loss.
Ocular herpes can be transmitted through contact with another person who is having a herpes outbreak. You can also contract herpes of the eye by self-inoculation and contamination during your own active herpes infection or cold sore. If you think you may have ocular herpes, it is recommended that you see an ophthalmologist or eye doctor.


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The virus spreads to the eye to cause the initial infection via contamination from contact with an existing herpes sore elsewhere on the body. A serious complication of ocular herpes simplex is stromal KERATITIS, in which the IMMUNE SYSTEM begins to attack the stromal cells that make up the cornea. The antiviral medication acyclovir may reduce the severity of outbreaks of the infection when taken at the first sign of symptoms. Ocular herpes simplex features similar eruptions of sores on the surface of the EYE and inside the eyelids. This leads to scarring deep within the cornea, resulting in distortions of vision and diminished VISUAL ACUITY.
Some studies show that taking acyclovir for 12 months significantly reduces recurrent ocular herpes simplex. It is estimated that 500,000 Americans have experienced some form of ocular herpes, with close to 50,000 new and recurring cases occurring each year, 20,000 new cases and 28,000 recurrent cases. Previous studies show that once people develop ocular herpes, they have up to a 50 percent chance of having a recurrence.
The infection can spread to the middle layers of the cornea, which may cause permanent scarring, loss of vision and, occasionally, blindness.


Always wash your hands after you touch a cold sore, and don't touch your eyes until you do. Some ocular herpes treatments could aggravate the outbreak and, therefore, should be treated on a case-by-case basis.
Stromal keratitis occurs when this happens and the infection goes deeper into the layers of the cornea. Several recurrences may result in the formation of deep ulcers, permanent scarring, and a loss of feeling when the eye is touched.
The more frequently the infection recurs, the more likely there is to be further damage from the virus. Although this is rare, the National Eye Institute reports that stromal keratitis is the leading cause of corneal scarring that results in blindness in the United States. To reduce damage and scarring, your health care provider may prescribe an antiviral eyedrop such as trifluridine, an antiviral medication taken orally, or even corticosteroid drops.
Infectioncontrol methods, such as frequent HAND WASHING and keeping the fingers away from the eyes, can help prevent initial infection.



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