Welcome. My name is Ariana and I work as a medical assistant at an army base. My main job is to make sure that there are no hidden health risks for our seemingly fit army personnel. One of the biggest issues I uncover is eyesight problems. I have discovered that a lot of people think that there is no need to visit an optometrist unless their eyes are sore or vision is blurry. This myth can be found in the army too. In the course of my work, I have learnt that many eye problems have no symptoms for a long time. I am always encouraging family and friends to go for annual eye checks. I have become so passionate about this issue that I started this blog to explain how optometrists can help you keep the best vision possible. Please scan through my entries. Enjoy.
Ocular herpes is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes cold sores to form around your mouth. The virus is contracted from contact with a contaminated area of your body or someone else's body. For example, if you touch a cold sore on your lip and then touch your eyes, you could spread the virus to your eyes. The herpes virus can lay dormant for years, and it's not always possible to identify the cause of an outbreak. However, it's thought stress, trauma and fever can all contribute to the activation of the virus. Ocular herpes can damage the cornea, iris or retina. If left untreated, it can cause inflammation and scar tissue to build up, which can lead to blindness. Here's what you need to know about ocular herpes:
In the early stages of ocular herpes, you may experience eye pain, redness and swelling around the eyes, a clear discharge, sensitivity to light and the sensation of having grit in your eye. As the condition progresses, you may experience blurred vision, floaters or flashes of light in your peripheral vision and a general decline of your sight.
Diagnosis and Treatment Approach
An optometrist can diagnose ocular herpes using an ophthalmoscope. This is a small device with a magnifying lens and light attached to the end of it, and your optometrist can use it to view all the way to the back of your eye. If your optometrist can see small ulcers with uneven edges around the cornea, you will receive a diagnosis of ocular herpes. Your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist to determine the extent of the damage to your eyes. The ophthalmologist will carry out a fluorescein angiogram, which is a diagnostic technique that uses a harmless dye to allow certain parts of your eye to be seen in more detail. This will enable the ophthalmologist to determine the exact parts of your eye that are affected by the virus.
Treatment for ocular herpes will depend on the extent of the infection, but can include a course of oral antiviral drugs and topical antiviral drops. Steroids can also be prescribed to reduce inflammation, which can prevent scar tissue building up. Debridement can be carried out to clear the virus from the outer layer of the cornea. This involves scraping away a thin layer of cells that are infected with the herpes virus. If ocular herpes has damaged the deep layers of the cornea and caused significant scarring, you will require a corneal transplant to improve your sight.
If you're experiencing any of the above symptoms associated with ocular herpes, schedule an appointment with an optometrist in your area.