Herpes simplex virus is the virus that causes cold sores. It is a very common virus, and most people have been exposed to it at some point in their lives. This virus can also present itself in the eye. It affects all different parts of the eye including the eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, iris, and retina.
Herpes simplex virus or HSV causes a painful infection of the cornea that can lead to corneal scarring, and loss of vision. In fact, corneal scarring from herpes simplex virus keratitis is one of the main indications for a cornea transplant.
Herpes simplex virus keratitis can be treated, by our SightMD eye care professionals, with various eye drops and oral antiviral medications. This is an infection that recurs and once diagnosed with HSV keratitis, it is important to be monitored closely by an eye doctor. Many times, individuals affected by this virus may remain on an antiviral medication indefinitely to prevent flares.
HSV keratitis can be very difficult to diagnose since many other ocular diseases and infections can present in a similar fashion. It can also be very challenging to treat, due to its chronic, smoldering behavior. Nonetheless, with proper diagnosis by our SightMD team, and the right combination of drops and oral medications, this virus can be kept in check and vision can be preserved. Should the cornea scar badly enough, a cornea transplant could be considered once the virus is quiet for a minimum of 6 months.