Herpes Viral Infection of The Eye Review
A herpes viral infection of the eye is caused by the same virus that causes cold sores herpes. Also known as ocular herpes, this condition is caused by the herpes simplex virus. When a person has a herpes viral infection of the eye, they develop a sore inside the eyelid or on the cornea itself. The cornea is the clear part of the eye. If the person has inflammation of the cornea from this virus they are said to have herpes simplex keratitis. While microbial keratitis may be the result of a herpes viral infection of the eye, other factors like wearing contact lenses, having had corneal anesthesia, trauma, bullous keratropathy, use of topical steroids, and compromised immune systems are also contributing factors.
Eye herpes is a chronic condition. There is no cure. A herpes viral infection of the eye should be treated promptly with anti-viral medication to prevent the virus from multiplying. Stromal keratitis is a sight threatening condition that occurs when the herpes virus spreads into the cornea more deeply. Next, the immune system attacks and kills stromal cells. The result is corneal scarring which can lead to blindness or loss of vision.
In America, about 400,000 people have ocular herpes. Because it is chronic, once a person has a herpes viral infection of the eye, there is a good chance that it will flare or recur. There are approximately 50,000 recurring or new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. 10 percent of people have a recurrence within a year. The two year recurrence rate is 23 percent. 63 percent have a recurrence within 20 years. Stomal keratitis occurs in about 25 percent of the cases. Stress, fever, eye injury and sunlight are some factors that are thought to induce recurrence. Acyclovir, an antiviral drug used to keep genital herpes under control, has also been shown to be effective in reducing the probable recurrence of herpes eye infections by 41 percent, and of stromal keratosis by 50 percent.