Herpes simplex is a very common virus affecting the skin, mucus membranes, nervous system, and the eye.
There are two types of herpes simplex. Type I causes cold sores or fever blisters and may involve the eye. Type II is sexually transmitted and rarely causes ocular problems.
Nearly everyone is exposed to the virus during childhood. The initial infection is usually mild, causing only a sore throat or mouth. After exposure, herpes simplex usually lies dormant in the nerve that supplies the eye and skin.
Later on, the virus may be reactivated by stress, heat, running a fever, sunlight, hormonal changes, trauma, or certain medications. It is more likely to recur in people who have diseases that suppress their immune system. In some cases, the recurrence is triggered repeatedly and becomes a chronic problem.
When the eye is involved, herpes simplex typically affects the eyelids, conjunctiva, and cornea. Keratitis (swelling caused by the infection), a problem affecting the cornea, is often the first sign of the disease in eyes. In some cases, the infection extends to the middle layers of the cornea, increasing the possibility of permanent scarring. Some patients develop uveitis, an inflammatory condition that affects other eye tissues.
Signs and Symptoms
Pain, Red Eye, Light Sensitivity, Irritation, possible visual problems
Usually drops or anti viral medication will resolve the situation. An unresolved on going problem can lead to permanent corneal scarring which may require a corneal graft.