Consultant Ophthalmologist,
Cataract & Refractive Surgeon

BMedSci BM BS MRCS MRCSEd MRCOpth FRCOphth MMedLaw PgD Cataract & Refractive Surgery

Herper Zoster Ophthalmicus

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What’s going on?

This is an infection with a form of the herpes (cold sore) virus. You can develop vesicles on your forehead and around your eye. If the tip of your nose is involved, this indicates that the nerve to the eye is also infected and the risk of proper eye problems is increased.

What will my ophthalmologist see?

Hopefully we will see nothing but there is a chance that the eye becomes involved either on its surface or even inside it.

What will my ophthalmologist do for me?

Prescribe systemic aciclovir in the early stages to minimise the risk of complications such as encephalitis.

What will my ophthalmologist do for me?

The eye will be assessed and treatment will be given appropriately.

What can I do?

If your vision suddenly goes down you need to report it. Check your vision regularly in the eye on the side of the rash. Use any treatment we give you. Often the ointment we prescribe is sticky and blurs your vision – please be patient and use it.

What do I need to know?

Unfortunately this is a recurrent condition. We can never kill the virus. We only inhibit the virus with the treatment. Once beaten down the virus lies dormant in the nerve and can reactivate at any stage. This may happen when you are run down or sometimes it is just bad luck.