Seeing Better Than You Have Before

Eye Herpes: What Is It And How An Optometrist Help You Overcome It?

by Linda Bates

The herpes simplex virus-1, or HSV-1, generally causes cold sore blisters around your lips, in your nasal openings, on your face, and sometimes inside your mouth. But the virus can also cause sores, also known as eye herpes or ocular herpes, to develop in, on and around different tissues of your eyes. If you have eye herpes, it's essential that you see an eye doctor for care. Here's more facts about eye herpes and what you can do to treat them.

How Does HSV-1 Get Into Your Eyes?

HSV-1 can spread to different locations of your eyes by physical contact, such as placing a contaminated finger in your eyes when you rub them. The virus can also spread to your eyes if you wash your face with another person's bath towel, wear their eyeglasses or use their makeup. Once the virus enters your eye tissues, it hides in the nerves that support them. 

Eye herpes can show up as cold sores on your corneas, irises and retinas. Most cold sore infections on the cornea can potentially heal on their own. However, some infections can affect the deeper tissues of the cornea and cause a host of issues, including scarring and vision loss. When eye herpes develops on your irises, you might experience pain, blurred vision and sensitivity to light. Retinal herpes is a rare condition that may cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye, which can lead to blindness.

Without the appropriate treatment, your eye herpes may lead to the serious or severe consequences above.

What Can You Do to Treat Eye Herpes?

The first step to protecting your vision is to see an optometrist. An optometrist, or eye doctor, will generally examine your eyes for sores or signs of infection, such as crusts on your eyelids and blisters in the corners of your eyes. The HSV-1 virus can spread from its original location to other areas outside the eyes. 

If an optometrist doesn't see visible signs of the virus, the specialist may coat the surfaces of your eyes with a unique dye to locate it. The dye gives off a fluorescent glow when placed in ultraviolet light. If none of these tests reveal the results needed to diagnose eye herpes, a doctor may check the pressure of your eyes to see if you have increased fluids around your retinas. 

Treatment for ocular herpes can range from topical ointments and eye drops to antiviral pills and debridement. The type of treatment you undergo may depend on where HSV-1 is in your eyes. For instance, if you have the infection on the surfaces of your corneas or on your eyelids, you may use a topical ointment for your treatment. If the infection affects the inner layers of the cornea, you may need to use steroid eye drops along with a topical ointment to heal your tissues. An optometrist will discuss all of your options during your exam.

For more information about eye herpes, contact an eye specialist, like those found at Vision Eyeland Super Optical LLC, today.