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Herpes and the Eye

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How Is Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus Treated?

Because herpes is a virus, antibiotics such as penicillin are not an effective treatment. The only drugs that will work against herpes infections are antiviral medications.

Your doctor will likely recommend antiviral pills to quicken healing and decrease the severity of the condition.It is important to keep using the medicine for as long as your doctor recommends. Even though the eye might start to look or feel better, the infection could come back if you stop taking your medicine too soon.

If the infection is affecting the cornea, eye drops called corticosteroids might also be recommended. Corticosteroids will help control the disease, but they can also raise the pressure in the eyes of some people. If corticosteroids are being used, it is important for the patient to come back to the doctor's office so the pressure can be checked.

Another type of eye drop might also be prescribed to keep the pupil dilated. This will help the eye's natural fluids flow, which prevents the pressure from increasing.

Unfortunately, herpetic eye disease can be painful even after several days of treatment and even when the eye is starting to look better. This can be discouraging, but it does not mean that the treatment is a failure. The medications are working, and the pain will go away eventually.

How Is Herpes Simplex Keratitis Treated?

The same types of eye drops and pills that are used to treat herpes zoster ophthalmicus are often prescribed to treat herpes simplex keratitis. It is also just as important to use the medications as recommended and to keep all appointments with your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 15, 2014

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