Herpes on Eyes
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 or HSV-1 is the cause of herpes eye infection. The virus episode often clears up without causing any permanent damage or problem to the eyes. Yet, in certain cases, the infection can scar the cornea and even lead to a permanent scarring or loss of vision. It is important to go in for a prompt treatment with an antiviral ointment or eye drops, in order to prevent scarring of the cornea.
Type 1 Virus or HSV-1 is the usual cause of cold sores found in the mouth, lips and the face as well as the infection in the eye. Type 2 virus usually causes genital herpes, but in some rare cases, it can cause cold sores in the eye as well.
The first infection of the eye due to Herpes virus is called the primary infection. Most people get the herpes in the eye during childhood. The virus is passed through the skin near the mouth, due to close contact like kissing a family member who has cold sores. When you touch the infected area and then touch the eyes, the virus is passed on to the eye area. The virus will remain with the person for the rest of his life, but remains in a dormant stage at the nerve root of the face in the trigeminal nerve.
In case of Herpes in the eye, the cornea is the part that is usually affected. The cornea forms the transparent window in the eye and the infection is called keratitis. In most cases, the infection is on the superficial layer, whereas, at times, the deeper inner layers are also affected. This can lead to scarring of the cornea. One or two out of 1000 people will surely have at least one episode of HSV virus in the eye at some point or other in his life. The first active type of infection usually begins in the ages of 30 to 40 years. Such people would have had some kind of cold sores during childhood. Herpes eye infections are also more common among those who wear contact lenses.
Some of the common symptoms of Herpes eye infection are redness of the eye around the cornea region. The person experiences aches or pains in the eye. The eye starts watering and there is blurring of vision. There are some rashes and blisters near the eyelids in some cases, with usually only one eye being affected.