Eye Herpes – Facts and Stats
One of the most frequent causes of blindness in one eye in the United States is eye herpes. Almost everyone in the United States is suffering from herpes, but eye herpes is very rare. Only one two of one thousand herpes patients will have this type of herpes infection, but still it manages to take away the vision of many people. It is simply because the percentage of patients suffering from eye herpes is not too high, but the total number of herpes patients is in millions. This makes thousands of herpes patients loose their eye sights to herpes simplex virus. According to National Eye Institute’s reports, an estimated 400,000 Americans have experienced some form of ocular herpes (eye herpes), with close to 50,000 new and recurring cases occurring every year. Herpes surely is not life threatening and much harmful until it reaches your eyes. This virus can bring maximum damage when it attacks any part of your eye. Hence those who are suffering from this condition must be careful about managing the symptoms in such a way that the virus cannot reach the eye part of your body as eye herpes treatment is still just a question with no answer.
At all the other parts of your body, the cold sores and blisters are bearable, treatable and temporary. But once your eye is infected with herpes virus, you can loose something very important permanently. That is why you must be very well aware of every possible eye herpes treatment and also have all the necessary information to make the treatment work for you.
Usually we call all the herpes eye infections as herpetic eye disease, but in scientific terms any infection in the eye due to any type of herpes virus is called herpes zoster ophthalmicus. This is considered to be a critical condition when the dangerous virus affects your eye. Do you know the virus causing such an unforgettable damage to your eye? Of course it is herpes but only some specific type of herpes virus has the capability to reach your eye. Commonly it is either Varicella zoster virus or the culprit is herpes simplex type 1. Yes, it is the same virus we assume to be less dangerous than herpes simplex type 2 just because it causes cold sores on mouth and face. The same herpes virus can crawl into the nerve cells of your eyes and if it starts multiplying there, you can end up loosing your eye. So better not take it lightly anymore. Herpes simplex type 1 and type 2 both are equally dangerous. There are a few things even more important than eye herpes treatment methods that every herpes patient must be aware of. Let us see which parts of eye the herpes virus of both the types can affect. Here from both the types we mean herpes simplex type 1 and Varicella zoster virus, not herpes simplex type two because in no case herpes simplex type two can infect your eye.
Parts of eye which get affected
- Cornea– Cornea is the most commonly affected part of eye due to herpes infection. In normal cases the infection is only confined to the upper layer of cornea. When this part of eye develops infection it is called herpes simplex keratitis. Herpes infection on the superficial layer of the cornea is known as epithelial keratitis and is the least dangerous type of corneal infection. The deeper the infection goes, the more are the chances of losing your eye.
- Skin of eye lids– Sometimes the thin lining of the eyelid called conjunctiva also develops herpes infection while the cornea is already suffering from the same.
- Iris and Choroid– Corneal herpes infection is the most common and the least dangerous one. The real problem arises when the virus affects the inner structure of eye like iris (the colored part of your eye) and choroid.
- Retina– It is the rarest and most dangerous situation when either the herpes simplex type 1 or varicella zoster virus manages to reach the retina of the eye. If the eye herpes reaches this part of your eye, you have maximum probability of suffering from a permanent damage.
The deeper the infection penetrates, the more pain you will have to bear. Depending upon which part suffers the most, one can predict the damage. The outer layer or cornea will not give you permanent marks of infection if you do not let it reach up to the deeper structures. But with inner or deeper structures you must consult your doctor. If the virus manages to reach the deeper structures of eye, it can create a really painful challenge of not getting treated ever as there is no possible method of eye herpes treatment available till date.
Symptoms of eye herpes/ herpetic eye
By detecting the signs and symptoms of eye herpes at an early stage, you can act promptly and reduce the sufferings by almost half. With all other types of herpes infections one can delay the treatment but in case of eye herpes treatment, a delay of a few hours can prove to be fatal for your eye and hence all the eye herpes patients should learn how to know that the herpes virus is going to hit them soon. Herpes Treatment is the immediate action that every herpes patient must go for, but before that you must know about how to detect the onset of eye herpes outbreak.
Tears will drip down your cheeks every now and then. As the infection progresses to the next stage, this symptom will become severe. You must not use hands to wipe the tears as this can worsen the infection. Use a tissue paper or clean hanky and swiftly wipe the eyes. You can do this regularly even when you don’t feel anything odd in your eyes. Try to keep the eyes dry during eye herpes outbreak.
- Swelling around the eyes
Due to discharge or multiplication of herpes virus leading to development of sores, you may observe swelling in one eye or in both the eyes. The swelling will be more if the infection has reached to the back of your eye.
- Infection, usually affecting only one eye
An infection may develop at the initial stage or following itching. The deepness of infection will decide how fatal it turns out to be. Generally the eye herpes infection only affects one of the eyes and only in rare cases the virus affects both the eyes. If you are clear about having eye herpes after this symptom, it’s time to rush for an eyes herpes treatment.
- Sores in the eye
You might have heard about sores near lips, cold sores on genitals and also on the face, but can you imagine cold sores developing in your eye? Yes, right into your eye and not near or in between them. It is as hard to bear as it is to imagine. But yes in eye herpes of any type, you will develop cold sores in either one eye or both the eyes.
The discharge, tears and pain of sores developed into your eye can make the tender eye turn red or pink. Sometimes use of strong eye drops to deal with eye herpes infection can also lead to redness.
Itching is the worst of all the symptoms. You may find it hard to control your hand from touching the infected eye again and again. And if you are unable to control you hand, no antiviral will be able to control the infection. Therefore itching itself is not a big problem but it can make the infection increase by manifolds.
- Sensitivity to light
The distinguishing symptom for eye herpes is sensitivity to light. If you are not sure about whether it is herpes or some other eye infection you can check yourself for the presence of this symptom.
- Continuous discharge from one or both the eyes
Generally eye herpes infects one eye, and from that eye you will see some watery discharge coming out all the time. This discharge will be more if you try to focus on something like television or laptop.
- Blurred vision
You will not be able to focus on anything, be it your computer, or book. Temporarily you will feel as if your vision has become defective from perfective.
With these particular symptoms of eye herpes, the infected person may also suffer from fever, headaches and body pain due to the rapid multiplication of the herpes virus in your body. The severity of the infection makes it really difficult to get some really effective eye herpes treatment. So, it’s better to rush to your doctor immediately the very time you notice any of these symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES EYE HERPES
You can either get the infection from someone else suffering from it or from yourself. The first one is simple enough, you get in contact with an infected person and the virus directly enters into your body. You can get it directly from the host or indirectly through the things used by the host. Second one is you already have the virus in your body but you take it to your eyes. With your own hands and because of your own acts the virus gets a chance to travel to your eye and ruin everything there.
TYPES OF EYE HERPES
Eye herpes is one type of herpes infection and in this particular type also there are many categories. Ranging from mild attacks to acute damage, eye herpes can cause great deal of pain to you. The damage can be permanent if you do not act on time and do not take the right step to treat eye herpes. Following are the types of eye herpes.
- Herpes keratitis
When the herpes virus causing eye herpes affects only the topmost or outer most layer of the eye, it is called herpes keratitis, or sometimes it is also called epithelial keratitis because the layer on which infection develops is epithelial. Ocular herpes of this type is least harmful and usually heals without leaving scars behind provided you take proper eye herpes treatment measures.
This is the most difficult type of eye herpes and very painful also. In this eye herpes, the herpes virus penetrates deeper inside the eye and reaches the iris. This causes inflammation in the iris and surrounding tissues. Iridocyclitis causes great deal of discomfort and pain. The worst part about this herpes infection is that it won’t go the way it came. It will either leave scars behind that will remind you of the infection for the rest of your life, or it will give some other permanent damage to your eye. Utmost care has to be taken if you are eye herpes patient and even more if your infection site is iris.
- Stromal keratitis
The cause of blindness, scarring, or loss of vision is stromal keratitis. In this the herpes virus affects not only the outer layer of the cornea but damages the inner layers also. If you are too late in acting to the initial infection, it often spreads and reaches to the inner layers causing stromal keratitis. Corneal scarring is the common loss to your eye due to stromal keratitis and loss of vision is the rare outcome of the same. This particular eye herpes is considered to be the leading cause of blindness in the United States. This makes the eyes herpes treatment a major issue to be solved.
- Herpes retinitis
Usually eye herpes affects the front part of the eye but in herpes retinitis herpes virus damages the back portion. The site of infection in herpes retinitis is retina and the part of eye around the retina.
WHO CAN GET EYE HERPES INFECTION?
Anyone can get any type of herpes at any point of time. If we look at the average age at which you have relatively higher chances of developing eye infection at the age of 30 to 40. The presence of eye herpes can be confirmed by your doctor. The doctor can detect the presence of eye herpes after looking through a magnifier. Based on your symptoms, history and physical examination of the eye, the doctor will give you the final verdict whenever you go for the eye herpes treatment.
TREATMENT FOR EYE HERPES
Eye Herpes Treatment method again depends on the place inside the eye where the herpes virus has actually reached. Depending on the severity of infection, part of eye on which infection occurred and taking your allergy history into consideration, you will be prescribed some medicines as the first process of eye herpes treatment. The superficial corneal infection due to herpes simplex virus can be treated with mild eye drops while the severe ones need antiviral treatment. Apart from the eye herpes treatment, there are several other inputs required from your side that every herpes patient must know. For instance, it is important to take proper measures as it is about your eye. Make sure you maintain proper hygiene as infection from one eye can spread to the other one easily. And if proper care is not taken, it would not take time to reach other people coming in contact with you. You should know every small and big thing associated with eye herpes to avoid complications and treatment methods are not enough. Let us see what are the different methods for the eye herpes treatment.
Conventional treatment for eye herpes
Performing eye herpes treatment in people with oral antiviral medication as a preventive measure significantly reduces the possibility that ocular herpes. The topical antiviral method for eye herpes treatment is approved by FDA and available for public use is Zirgan. It is usually recommended for use five times per day for people suffering from corneal herpes. The only precaution that must be taken is not to wear contact lenses while using this topical treatment for herpes. Otherwise also you should not use contact lenses during eye herpes or any other eye infection. Wearing contact lenses during the infection in eye infection leads to prolonged stay of virus in your eye and it is even possible that you get it immediately after you got rid of it through the lenses. Get a pair of disposable contact lenses if possible and replace them as soon as you see the symptoms going away. If you are wearing a non disposable pair, just make sure you wash them thoroughly before using again.
Apart from the antiviral therapy as an eye herpes treatment, one can also get an advice to undergo debridement. Debridement is the process of removing the infected corneal layer with the help of a cotton swab or corneal spatula. This is done when the herpes patient develops an acute infection and cannot see through one or both the eyes. In worst case an eye herpes patient may have to undergo cornea transplant. Either scarring can lead to this surgical treatment or some acute permanent damage. This indeed is a very painful method and hence you must try to use medicines at the right time to avoid this situation.
The third methods used to treat eye herpes conventionally is with the use of steroid drops. Steroid drops are highly effective; there is no doubt about it, but there are certain other factors too. Steroid drops decrease the power of the eye’s natural immune system. This means you eye will now be more susceptible to future infections. Steroid drops have been known to cause recurrent eye herpes infections in susceptible patients. Similar types of side effects are seen with the use of other conventional treatment methods too.
Natural treatment for eye herpes
Taking all the side effects associated with the use of conventional treatments for eye herpes, it is better we start finding the solution in nature. Natural eye herpes treatment is side effect free and as much effective as other conventional drug treatments. Herbal remedies for herpes are as effective in eye herpes as they are for any other health ailments. Among calendula, chamomile, fennel or eyebright teas, you can use any one of them easily available to you to get some relief in the burning eye sensation and pain due to infection. These can be used to make hot compresses instead of using plain water for it. You can use these teas to rinse your eyes, and eyebright can also be taken orally in capsule available on any health store. All of these herbs are equally good for any eye irritation or inflammation during eye herpes outbreak.
You can find the same relief in home made eye drop as you were getting from those expensive antiviral ointments. Instead of buying the eye drops from health store, one can use saline water as a replacement. Saline eye drops are often recommended in eye infections like herpes. Some store bought brands contain lubricants and other medications for various conditions, but you can make a simple solution at home. Although it will not be easy and pleasant to keep the slat water into your eyes for too long, the ease with which it can be made drives you towards this method of eye herpes treatment. Distilled water is recommended since tap water can contain chemicals and impurities, but many people use plain tap water. Boil one cup of water with about one half of a teaspoon of salt and let the liquid cool completely before using. Use an eye cup or an eye dropper to rinse the eye with the cooled salt solution. The solution can be used as an eye rinse and also as a nasal solution for sinus and allergy issues. Read more to get details regarding the remedies for natural cure for herpes.
Apart from the natural treatment methods, you can also use some simple tips and tricks to beat the herpes virus at home. One such way to get relief from the pain and sufferings is to use cold compress method. Applying compress to your eyes will give you soothing effect and will also decrease the swelling. Take a soft and clean cloth dip it in cold water and then wring. After drying it partially gently apply it on your eye and keep it there for a few minutes. Repeat the same process on closed eyelid on both your eyes several times. You will definitely feel relaxed and pain will also decrease. With only a few natural treatment methods you can actually get rid of almost every symptom of eye herpes, and there are a lot more available if you search for them.
Eye requires much more attention than any other body part of yours because it is very much sophisticated. Eye herpes therefore must not be taken for granted and it demands immediate action.
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