Keratitis: Is Eye Herpes Contagious?
The answer to this question is yes, but it's not quite as simple as that.
Normally you do not catch Herpes Keratitis as it
is a complication that can sometimes follow Herpes Simplex
The way eye herpes develops is via cross
contamination, that is from touching your own cold
sore (or other infected area) and then your eye. In principle you can also catch Keratitis
from someone else, but it is not a common way of getting it.
Precautions against Eye Herpes
You should avoid sharing makeup with other people
as this could be a way of getting Keratitis. Also note that
Keratitis means inflammation of the eye and is not only caused
by Herpes. You should also avoid touching your eye when you
have Herpes in outbreak and keep good hygiene in outbreak
periods. Contact lens wearers should be extra careful
if they have cold sores. Permanent makeup, also known as
micropigmentation or cosmetic pigmentation may also trigger an
outbreak of Herpes Keratitis (as well as cold sores) but it is
highly unlikely that you would catch any kind of Herpes virus from such
If the Keratitis is caused by Herpes it is usually a
reactivation of either Herpes Simplex or Herpes
Zoster, the reactivation being after an outbreak of the original
Herpes virus. Keratitis can be quite harmless and go away on
its own but it can also be serious and cause permanent damage.
Common Symptoms and Potential Damage from Eye Herpes
Keratitis attacks the cornea which is the clear
dome that covers the front part of the eye. It is usually only
seen in one eye and it is more than likely a one off condition
although in some cases it may happen again.
The symptoms of Herpes Keratitis are
- Blurred vision
- Pain and redness of the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Decreased vision
If you suspect you have Keraitis, you should see a doctor for
diagnosis, advice and possibly treatment.
Severe cases of Keratitis
may lead to:
- Development of tiny blood vessels in the eye
- Chronic inflammation of the cornea
- Scarring of the cornea
- Loss of vision
The treatment for Herpes Keratitis will be antiviral eye drops,
trifluridine or vidaribine. Both are available on prescription
- What is Eye Herpes?
- What are the symptoms of Eye Herpes?
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