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What is Herpes Simplex?

Herpes simplex, commonly known as herpes, is a potentially serious eye infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 (HSV-1 or HSV-2). This virus usually causes cold sores on the mouth, but it can also lead to inflammation and infection of the eyes. The initial symptoms of herpes simplex include redness, eye pains, increased photosensitivity, and blurry vision.  It can lead to scarring of the cornea and vision loss.  In severe or untreated cases, scarring can be severe enough to require a corneal transplant to restore vision.

Symptoms of Herpes Simplex:

  • Redness in the eyes
  • Increased eye pain
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Increases sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Watery discharge from the eyes
  • Most often only one eye displays symptoms
  • Usually a history of cold sores

Causes of Herpes Simplex:

Herpes simplex eye infections usually occur when quiescent herpes virus in specific cranial nerves reactivates and travels down the nerve to the eye. Many individuals are exposed to the herpes simplex virus at some point during their life. The virus can remain inactive in the body, but later become reactivated and travel along the cranial nerve to the eyes, usually triggered by eye injuries, exposure to strong sunlight, illnesses, high temperatures, stress, etc. When the virus reactivates and spreads to the eyes, you suffer from herpes simplex eye infections.

The Diagnosis & Treatment of Herpes Simplex

In most cases, herpes simplex eye infections resolve within 2 weeks, but you need treatments to reduce the potential for long-term complications. After a thorough evaluation, the eye doctor will formulate a personalized treatment plan for you, which may include antiviral eyedrops or gels, steroid eyedrops to reduce inflammation, and antiviral tablets for severe infections. The specific treatment will depend on your exam findings, and the severity and frequency of reactivation.

Schedule an Appointment

Medical Surgical Eye Institute is a premier eye care center specializing in cutting-edge treatments for herpes simplex eye infections and other vision problems. Our medical providers use cutting-edge diagnostic tools to identify the root cause of your problems at the earliest stage possible to fromulate a personalized treatment plan, ensuring safe and reliable results. Please schedule an appointment to explore your herpes simplex treatment options.

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