Herpes Ophthalmicus Symptoms and Treatment

Herpes Ophthalmicus

Herpes opthalmicus is a condition in which a dormant form of herpes is triggered by causes still unknown, usually later in life, in the form of shingles. When the eyes are affected by the herpes zoster infection, the condition is then referred to as herpes opthalmicus.

It’s likely that this condition is not the first herpes outbreak experienced by most people. Chicken pox is commonly the primary experience many people have with this creeping virus. The virus is referred to as “creeping” because it literally hangs around in your body until something causes it to arise from its slumber, deep within sensory nerves. It’s still unknown what causes this sudden awakening, but it’s been suggested that a compromising of the immune system or even psychological stress could be causes. As with herpes simplex symptoms, the tell tale sign of this condition is often a rash with often large and painful eruptions. When this rash interferes with the nerves of the eye, it is called herpes opthalmicus.

Prior to development of the rash however, other symptoms may be present. Identifying them early can mean faster administration of treatment, and ultimately can equal less discomfort and risk of permanent damage. Before the rash develops, tiredness and fever can occur. Additionally, headache and eye pain can be present. Decreased vision and blurriness are all also potential early symptoms within the eye, as are increased tear production, redness and a feeling of pressure in the eye.

Herpes opthalmicus is commonly treated with the same medicine for other forms of this virus. Acyclovir at dosages dependent on the recommendation of a doctor, is usually administered for a period of 7-10 days. Occasionally, if needed, steroids are also utilized. If the damage to the eye is severe, herpes opthalmicus may need surgical intervention. This could be via corneal transplantion or retina detachment.

Anyone experiencing the early signs of this condition should seek medical care. Waiting until the actual sores develop not only can prolong the discomfort of the illness, but also can render the sufferer more prone to long term vision damage.