Treatment for Herpes Eye Disease

Herpes eye disease is a condition caused by the herpes simplex virus. It causes redness, pain, tearing, and other symptoms in the eyes. It’s a common condition for people who have been exposed to the herpes virus. In severe cases, it can cause loss of eyesight.

Types of treatment

Treatment for herpes eye disease depends on how severe it is and the parts of your eye affected. Possible treatments include:

  • Antiviral ointment for your eyelids

  • Antiviral eye drops

  • Antiviral medicine taken by mouth

  • Antibiotic ointment for your eyelids, to prevent infection by bacteria

  • Antibiotic eye drops, to prevent infection by bacteria

  • Steroid eye drops, to reduce inflammation

Most of these are used for a short time. But you may need to take an oral antiviral medicine for a longer time. This is to help prevent future flare-ups.

Possible complications of herpes eye disease

Herpes eye disease can cause severe complications. A flare-up can make your eye more likely to get other eye infections. This is why you may be treated with antibiotics.

In some cases, herpes eye disease permanently scars the cornea. The cornea is usually clear. Scarring makes it cloudy. This can cause vision loss. If vision loss is severe, you may need a corneal transplant to restore your eyesight.

Herpes eye disease can also cause a short-term (temporary) increase in pressure in the front part of your eye. This may need to be treated with special eye drops. In rare cases, it can cause infection of the brain and tissues around the brain. This may need to be treated in the hospital with an antiviral medicine given through an IV line.

Preventing herpes eye disease flare-ups

Your healthcare provider may prescribe a medicine to decrease your chance of having the virus become active. You can also help reduce your chance of a flare-up. Avoid getting too much sunshine and limit your stress. Think about learning, and regularly using, stress management techniques such as mediation and exercise. Go to your eye care provider at the first sign of symptoms.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Eye pain

  • Blurred vision

  • Fluid coming from your eye 

  • New vision symptoms

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