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Signs herpes outbreak is coming

Type 1 virus is the usual cause of cold sores around the mouth, and herpes simplex infection in the eye. It is commonly passed on by close contact such as kisses from a family member who has a cold sore.) In many people the primary infection does not cause any symptoms, although in some cases symptoms do occur. A minor and temporary inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) or eyelids (blepharitis) may occur with active infection, often at the same time as the cornea is infected. Often people who get active eye infection will have had previous cold sores during their lifetime.
They may also put some stain on the front of your eye to show up any irregular areas on the cornea.
If your doctor suspects a herpes eye infection you will usually be referred urgently to an eye specialist.
This is to confirm the diagnosis and to determine whether the infection is in the top layer of the cornea (epithelial keratitis), or if the deeper layers are involved (stromal keratitis).


These do not kill the virus but stop it from multiplying further until the infection clears. You are likely to be kept under review, until the infection clears, to check that the cornea does not become infected. Note: if you have herpes simplex eye infection, you should stop wearing any contact lens until 24 hours after your symptoms and the infection have completely gone away. As mentioned above, these occur if the virus reactivates from time to time - similar to cold sores.
A recurrent infection may occur any time between a few weeks and many years after the first active infection. At least half of people who have one episode of active infection will have a recurrence within 10 years of the first.
If recurrences are frequent or severe, then your eye specialist may advise that you take antiviral tablets each day to prevent episodes of active infection.


Studies have shown that, on average, the number of recurrences is roughly halved in people who take regular antiviral tablets. Some people say that episodes of active herpes infection may be triggered by strong sunlight. It is also possible that active infection may be triggered if you are run down or unwell for another reason. Some women find that they get recurrences around the time of their period but again there is limited evidence to support this. However, severe and recurrent herpes simplex eye infections may lead to serious scarring, impaired vision and even blindness in some cases.



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