Protect Your Eyes from Eye Herpes

As per an estimate by The National Eye Institute (NEI), an estimated 400,000 Americans have experienced eye herpes with new and recurring cases occurring every year

 Onlymyhealth Staff Writer
Written by: Onlymyhealth Staff WriterUpdated at: May 24, 2019 17:04 IST
Protect Your Eyes from Eye Herpes

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The eye is one of the most sensitive organs in the human body. One needs to give extra care for it to be healthy and disease-free. Various factors include dust, pollution and even allergens cause significant harm to the eyes leading to several problems. Apart from conjunctivitis, there is another virus that we should be known about, which is the herpes virus. Extremely common for those vulnerable to viral infections, this viral infection can lead to something serious if proper care not given. 

Types of Virus 

There are two types of herpes virus. The first type can lead to cold sores while the second one, which also leads to chickenpox, can affect the eye with the herpetic eye disease. Unlike the other herpes virus, which is also sexually transmitted, this virus is not sexually transmitted. The virus which leads to eye herpes is the varicella-zoster virus. This virus type also leads to chickenpox. The other virus that leads to this condition is known as the herpes simplex type 1. This virus type directly affects the cornea. 

The Various Forms

Ranging from common infections to partial blindness, eye herpes is of various types: 

  • Herpes Keratitis: One of the most common types of eye herpes, the Herpes Keratitis leads to an infection in the cornea. It usually heals with necessary medication as prescribed by the eye specialist depending upon the severity of the case. 
  • Stromal Keratitis: This condition is slightly severe as it goes deep into the cornea. This type of herpes, if not taken care well in time, can lead to partial blindness and scarring.
  • Iridocyclitis: This type of eye herpes directly affects the iris and its surrounding tissues inside the eye. Iridocyclitis further leads to excessive pain, redness and a blurred vision. It affects the front portions of the inside of the eye. If the infection is in the retina, it is known as herpes retinitis.

Symptoms and Causes

Your body gives multiple signs and symptoms in case of any infection in the body. Anything in the eye, the primary symptoms can be blurry vision, pain and redness in the eye. The other characteristics of eye herpes are as follows:

  • Tearing and thinning of the tear film
  • Swelling in and around the eyes
  • Excessive watering and irritation
  • Eyesores and redness
  • White discharge from eyes 
  • Sensitivity from light 


Eye herpes is generally transmitted through contact with an individual with active herpes infection. The virus enters through the mouth or nose and further travels into the nerves. It is not necessary that the virus may react immediately. It can even take several years to get active and show symptoms of the same. As per NEI’s findings, untreated eye herpes can return and has about a 40-50 per cent chance.Further, it is essential to protect your eyes and vision from external factors. Here are a few tips by Dr Ira Chopra, Consultant Eye Surgeon: 

  • Limit the screen time, especially for leisure. As we cannot skip the need of resorting to digital devices for work, it is best we avoid it for leisure use.  
  • IT is advisable to use digital devices in the right posture and position. Minimum glare from the screen should be ensured, brightness should be less, and the screen should be right ahead of the face for the least amount of strain to your eyes.
  • Take regular breaks from screen time. Stand up from your desk every two hours and walk around the workplace for five minutes. Blink more often.
  • Wearing protective eye wears in front of digital screens has emerged as the most viable preventive option in the face of increasing prevalence and exposure to blue light radiation. 

Read more about other diseases.