Herpes of the Eye (cont.)

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Who is at risk for herpes infections of the eyes?

Although a very large percentage of the population (85% or more) carries the HSV-1 virus, not everyone who carries the virus gets an eye infection.

When a person carrying the virus becomes immunocompromised (for example their immune system becomes weakened) due to HIV, medications (steroids, chemotherapy), age, and perhaps stress, the virus is more likely to become "active" and incite an eye infection.

However in many (if not most) cases of HSV infection, the frequency of eye infections appears to be random and not necessarily associated with episodes of stress or immune weakness. In fact, studies have suggested that the particular subtype of HSV-1 that an individual harbors has as much to do with the frequency of eye infections as the individual's immune status.

What are the signs and symptoms of herpes eye infections?

The most common presentation for ocular HSV and HZV infection is pain, blurred vision, redness, tearing, and light sensitivity in one eye. HZV is also often accompanied by a shingles rash (small "vesicles," or blisters) on the forehead on the side that is affected and sometimes the tip of the nose.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2014

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