The risk factors for eye herpes are first and foremost reliant on the exposure to the virus. Naturally, there will be much less of a risk if you aren’t exposed to the virus at all.
Secondly, touch is another factor that can determine your risk. If you aren’t much of a social person, and generally try to avoid touching people, then you are less likely to contract the virus.
While touch may seem like an insignificant thing, it is important to remember that we as a species spread thousands upon thousands of diseases each and every year. Through a series of simple acts, such as shaking a hand and then wiping your eye, it is possible to contract ocular herpes.
If you are by chance infected, but the virus remains dormant, there are still several things that can trigger an outbreak. For example, stress, fever, sunburn and even dental procedures are capable of causing the herpes virus to flare up. This is similar to the form of herpes that causes cold sores.
Ocular herpes is a viral eye disease, meaning that it can be treated by a series of antiviral medication. Anti-viral medication works by destroying diseased epithelial cells and preventing the virus from multiplying.
However, the extent of their effectiveness is based on the progression of the disease. For instance, using anti-viral drugs on an infection that hasn’t spread too deeply throughout your system may prove to be more useful than using them when you have a fully-fledged infection.
Nevertheless, the type of treatment available is dependent on the form of the disease.
Stromal keratitis – Can be treated by taking a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs and antiviral therapy.
Epithelial keratitis – Can be treated with eye drops, ointments, or ingestible anti-viral drugs. Your eye specialist may also remove the diseased cells of the eyes through a procedure known as debridement.
Iridocyclitis – This form of the disease is mainly treated using steroids. However, if the infection has begun to spread, then anti-viral medications may be prescribed.
It is important to note here that because of the many ways in which ocular herpes can manifest in your eyes, there is no single treatment plan. Your eye specialist will be able to figure out the best treatment plan for you and your eyes.
As always, regular eye checks are essential in the detection and monitoring of eye diseases. In the case of ocular herpes, symptoms may not be noticeable in the beginning. Therefore, it is crucial that you ask your eye doctor to keep you updated on the status of your eyes.
Our eyes are very sensitive organs, and ocular herpes can cause a lifetime of vision problems and scarring if not treated properly. And part of proper treatment is early detection.
You should have your eyes checked every 1 to 2 years. If you are at risk of certain factors such as age, genetics, or pre-existing health conditions, then you may even want to schedule these appointments multiple times throughout the year.
If you have any further questions about ocular herpes or you would like to schedule an appointment, please get in touch with us here at the New Jersey Eye Center in Bergenfield, NJ.