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Herpes simplex is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, more commonly known as HSV. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, and an individual can easily acquire HSV infection by having sexual intercourse with a person infected with HSV.
Individuals who are taking drugs and medications that have a suppressing effect on the body’s immune system are the ones who are susceptible in acquiring herpes. The symptoms of herpes start appearing two to twenty days after the contamination or exposure to the virus and it usually lasts for several weeks. Topical antibiotics may also be prescribed to alleviate the discomfort brought by sores and blisters and to prevent secondary bacterial infections.
Individuals who are suffering from herpes outbreaks should practice hygienic measures so that their situation will not worsen or lead to other complications. Prevention of the spread of herpes is important, so a male infected with genital herpes should use a condom while having sexual intercourse to stop the transmission of the virus, since it cannot pass through latex. There are also long-term effects associated with herpes, but these are still under observation and not yet fully understood as of today. This form of herpes will most commonly affect the cornea, or the clear outer layer, of your eye. This type is when the infection happens inside the lining of the back of your eye or in the retina. The symptoms of herpes of the eye may happen every once in awhile or they could happen on a daily basis and at times may be severe.
Herpes of the eye is a viral infection that is usually caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1. This is the type of virus that can pass from one person to another through some type of contact so if a person has a cold sore and you come in contact with it through kissing them or touching the cold sore you could become infected with HSV. Another virus that could cause herpes of the eye is the virus that causes shingles and chickenpox, which is a disease of your nervous system, is called varicella-zoster virus. To ensure that you get the proper treatment you should see an eye doctor or ophthalmologist.
Although it is not curable you should always seek medical attention because if not treated it could result in corneal scarring that is severe and in some cases you may have to have a corneal transplant to get back your normal vision. The field of medicine cannot produce a cure for herpes because any attempt to attack the herpes virus will lead to the damage of the nerve cells of an infected individual. Studies have shown that a condom can reduce the spread of herpes by 96%, which is a major factor in stopping the spread of this virus.
Scars are long term effects commonplace to this virus, because breaks in the skin may not heal properly.
With type a person can develop blurred vision, redness, pain, and sensitivity to the light which can be severe.
Herpes of the eye can also be caused by a person who has an outbreak of this herpes simplex virus type 1 if they touch their eyes during the outbreak.


If this particular virus is the cause of herpes of the eye it is referred to as herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Proper treatment will also help make the probability of herpes of the eyes reoccurring less frequent. There is also a possible risk of Alzheimer’s in people also affected by herpes, though this is also still under study.
This type of herpes virus is also the common cause for a person to develop blisters their face and cold sores. Always make sure that you wash your hand thoroughly if you come in contact with this virus. All cases of herpes of the eye should be treated case by case because some of the treatments could just aggravate the outbreak. Even without the symptom of lesions, oral sex should be avoided because HSV may be transmitted in this manner.
There are also psychological and social effects on the person infected by this disease, and may also suffer from quality of life issues.
Of that twenty-five million people, approximately fifty thousand will have either a flare-up or infection each year. It is not totally understood what the cause is for HSV type 1 to develop but it thought to be that many people are exposed in early life to this type of virus with or without having any symptoms of this virus. There is no known cure for herpes of the eye and treatment is used to help control the outbreak you have. Difficult or painful urination as well as tender or swollen lymph glands may also be experienced around the groin. A person with herpes also has a greater risk of HIV transmission because the HIV virus is transmitted easier through the skin breaks of herpes. The physician may prescribe an antiviral eye drop or topical ointments to help reduce any scarring or damage to your eye. If left untreated, the child will most certainly be infected as well, and the effects of the disease will be greater than on the parent, forming a life-threatening situation for the child.
This is why sexual abstinence is recommended, to prevent complications brought on by herpes. In the United States it is one of the most common infectious reasons for corneal blindness. It is also not known what causes the outbreak of this herpes virus but if you have an immune system that is weakened you are more susceptible to having outbreaks.
If it is necessary the physician may scrape or brush the affected areas of your cornea with a cotton swab to remove manually the affected cells. This leads to further weakening of the immune system, so the effect of herpes will be compounded.
Type 1 virus is the usual cause of cold sores around the mouth, and herpes simplex infection in the eye.


Some of the reasons that the herpes simplex virus type 1 can be reactivated may include mental stress, exposure to the sun, or sickness. 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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