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Herpes of the Eye

Herpes Infections of the Eye


The herpes simplex1 infection commonly called core sores can erupt in other areas other than the lip.  As it is the virus is usually found erupting around the area of the mouth and lip it can also spread to other areas including the eye


Although it is unusual to find the infection in the eye, it is contracted by the same method as any other herpes. Contact with the saliva of another having an active herpes infection enters the body.  As the herpes virus attaches to a facial nerve, in some few people along with the facial nerve, the virus finds the nerves leading to the eye. The virus may erupt or may remain dormant for a period of time. The herpes virus is very contagious and when it comes in contact with any tissue or mucosa it can implant itself in there.  That includes the eye.  The thought of an oozing ugly open lesion in the eye is not something we want to acquire.

Signs and Symptoms

The infection starts with burning, tearing and redness of the eye. As with any other type of herpes outbreak a lesion of the eye will form which will progress to an ugly, open oozing mess.   The infection can cause scarring and inflammation of the cornea and is the most common infectious cause of corneal blindness.  There will be a discharge as in all other forms of an outbreak.


Early intervention is of prime importance.  There are different treatments and medications available.  Depending on the type of ocular herpes and the damage it is causing will determine the best form of treatment.  Even a simple infection without great complications that responds favorably to treatment may last for at least 3 weeks. The worse scenario is one in which response is limited and the cornea is left with scars that limit vision.  As with all of these infections, there is no cure and vigilance is upper most to identify and treat any further outbreaks of this disease. In some cases, a herpes infection that doesn’t respond to treatment or one that has advanced because of delayed treatment, surgery may be required.

Common Sense Treatment

Herpes is an easy to acquire, fairly easy to treat but chronic illness.  The first outbreak is usually the worse with each following incidence lessening in virulence and pain.  As there is pain, the herpes virus attaches itself to a nerve no matter where it erupts, over the counter pain medications are necessary and should be started as soon as the first symptoms are noticed.  Of course you know not to touch your lip or presenting infection, but that is sometimes hard to do.  Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after a contact with the infection.  Having a bottle of a hand sanitizer lotion in your hand bag may be a good idea.  Since soap and water may not always be available the lotion is the second best treatment.  Be sure to separate linens, towels, cooking and eating utensils from that of the remainder of your family. The best treatment is always prevention.

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