Herpes of the eye, or ocular herpes, is a viral

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Previous studies show that once people develop ocular herpes, they have up to a 50 percent chance of having a recurrence. This second flare-up could come weeks or even years after the initial occurrence.



Eyesight depends on a complex series of interactions between the different parts of the eye. ocular herpes can produce a painful sore on the eyelid or surface of the eye and cause inflammation of the cornea. Prompt treatment with anti-viral drugs helps to stop the herpes virus from multiplying and destroying epithelial cells. However, the infection may spread deeper into the cornea and develop into a more severe infection called stromal keratitis, which causes the body's immune system to attack and destroy stromal cells. Stromal keratitis is more difficult to treat than less severe ocular herpes infections. Recurrent episodes of stromal keratitis can cause scarring of the cornea, which can lead to loss of vision and possibly blindness.


Herpes of the eye, or ocular herpes, is a viral infection that is caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus and is the most common infectious cause of corneal blindness in the U.S. The herpes simplex 1 virus is the same one generally associated with cold sores.



An estimated 400,000 Americans have had some form of ocular herpes. Each year, nearly 50,000 new and recurring cases are diagnosed in the United States. In one large study, researchers found that the recurrence rate of ocular herpes was 10 percent within one year, 23 percent within two years and 63 percent within 20 years. Some factors believed to be associated with recurrence include:

    * fever
    * stress
    * sunlight
    * eye injury

Like other herpetic infections, herpes of the eye can be controlled. Treatment depends on the location and the severity of involvement. Antiviral eye drops may be used. Steroids might also be needed to help decrease inflammation and corneal scarring.

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