Herpes of the Eye (cont.)
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How Is Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus Treated?
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Because herpes is a virus, antibiotics such as penicillin are not an effective treatment. The only drugs that will work against herpes infections are antiviral medications.
Depending on how serious the herpes zoster ophthalmicus is and what part of the eye is affected, your doctor will recommend antiviral eye drops, pills, or both. No matter what kind of medication is recommended, it is important to keep using the medicine for as long as your doctor recommends. Even though the eye might start to look or feel better, the infection could come back if you stop taking your medicine too soon.
If the infection is affecting the cornea, another kind of eye drops called corticosteroids might also be recommended. Corticosteroids will help control the disease, but they can also raise the pressure in the eyes of some people. If corticosteroids are being used, it is important for the patient to come back to the doctor's office so the pressure can be checked.
Another type of eye drop might also be prescribed to keep the pupil dilated. This will help the eye's natural fluids flow, which prevents the pressure from increasing.
Unfortunately, herpetic eye disease can be painful even after several days of treatment when the eye is starting to look better. This can be discouraging, but it does not mean that the treatment is a failure. The medications are working, and the pain will go away eventually.
How Is Herpes Simplex Keratitis Treated?
The same types of eye drops and pills that are used to treat herpes zoster ophthalmicus are prescribed to treat herpes simplex keratitis. It is also just as important to use the medications as recommended and to keep all appointments with your doctor.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, WebMD, October 2005.
Last Editorial Review: 6/21/2005
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Herpes of the Eye - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your herpes zoster ophthalmicus?
Herpes of the Eye - Symptoms at Time of Diagnosis Question: What symptoms and signs were you experiencing when your herpes simplex keratitis was diagnosed?
Herpes of the Eye - How it Develops Question: Did you have another illness before developing a herpes eye infection? Please share your experience.