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Eye Care

Eye herpes, also known as ocular herpes, is a viral condition of the eye caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). In most cases, eye herpes affects the cornea of the eye when it is called herpes keratitis. Herpes around the eye can affect the superficial cells of the cornea or the main body of the cornea. Eye herpes is usually transmitted when a person touches a cold sore on their lip and then their eye, oral contacts such as kissing or sharing food, eating utensils or a toothbrush.

Types of eye herpes: 

There are two main types of eye herpes including:

  • Epithelial keratitis– is one of the most commonly occurring herpes of the eye wherein the virus is active in the thin outermost layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium.
  • Stromal keratitis– is a more serious condition because over time and repeated outbreaks cause enough damage to your cornea to cause blindness.

Symptoms of Eye Herpes:

An ocular herpes outbreak is diagnosed with various signs and symptoms associated with it. Experiencing inflammation of the cornea giving rise to irritation or sudden and severe ocular pain, or a supremely cloudy cornea leading to blurry vision are some of the indications.

Other symptoms of eye herpes include:

  • The feeling of something being in the eye
  • light sensitivity
  • Redness
  • blurry vision
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • inflamed eyelids (blepharitis)

What causes eye herpes?

The virus enters the body due to the nasal secretions or spit of a person with the infection. Upon entering, it travels through the body’s nerves including the ones in your eye. The virus could initially be dormant but certain triggers like fever, major surgical or dental procedures, stress, sunburn, trauma or severe injury can facilitate its reproduction causing eye irritation. Some causes include:

  • Major surgical or dental procedures
  • Trauma

Diagnosing eye herpes

Ophthalmologists, or eye doctors, begin diagnosing your herpetic eye disease by asking in-detail questions about the symptoms. That is followed by an eye exam to evaluate your vision, sensitivity to light, and eye movements using a special microscope (slit lamp) to visualize the eye’s surface and the eyelid.

As part of the diagnosis, you may be asked to give a small cell sample from a blistered area for lab testing to check the presence of HSV. Another option is a fluorescein eye stain test to look at the dye stains in your eye and identify any problems with your cornea, such as scarring.

Eye herpes treatment

There is no cure for herpetic eye disease currently. Your doctor will prescribe antiviral medications to reduce the effects and symptoms of the condition. It could be medicated eye drops, ointments or oral medications, depending on the location and severity of your eye herpes. Your treatment will also differ depending on whether you have epithelial keratitis (the milder form) or stromal keratitis (the more damaging form):

  • Epithelial keratitis treatment – take antiviral medication to minimize cornea damage and vision loss. A common treatment is the oral medication acyclovir (Zovirax) because it doesn’t come with some of the potential side effects of eye drops. Your doctor may also perform debridement to remove diseased cells wherein they gently brush the surface of your cornea with a cotton swab after applying numbing drops.
  • Stromal keratitis treatment – In this case, prefer antiviral therapy and take steroid (anti-inflammatory) eye drops to reduce swelling in the stroma.

Although eye herpes is not curable, you can minimize the eyesight damage during sudden outbreaks by contacting your doctor at the first sign of the symptoms. That is because the sooner your treatment begins, the lesser significant damages your cornea will face.

Summer Eye Care Tips

Summer is finally here, which means you’re going to be putting away your sweaters, boots and winter cream and replacing them with sunscreen and summer clothing. Summer also means that you’re going to be spending a lot more time outdoors now that there’s no snow. Along with summer skincare, you need to make sure you take care of your eyes too.

Here are some essential eye care tips that are important for summer:

Wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors

Just as going out without sunscreen can give you sunburn, going out on a sunny day without sunglasses can give you photokeratitis — which is sunburn of the cornea. This condition is caused when the cornea is exposed to harmful UV rays of the sun. Symptoms include dryness, discomfort and tearing up. It’s best to wear sunglasses if you’re going to be outdoors more often in the summer.

You need to wear sunglasses even if you are wearing contact lenses

While several contact lens brands are made with UV protection, they only cover the centre of the eye and not the area around the cornea, which means you might still be susceptible to sun damage if you’re wearing contact lenses but are planning on going outdoors. In addition to this, the sun might cause dryness and irritation if you’re wearing contact lenses without sunglasses.

Wear hats to protect your eyes and skin

Sunglasses don’t offer protection from UV light on their own, so minimize your risk with a hat with a brim that is at least 3 inches wide. This mandatory protection can reduce the risk of getting harmful UV radiation on your eyes and will help save you grave eye problems in the long run.

It is important to wear sunglasses and a hat

Long-term sun exposure can cause debilitating eye issues in the long run, like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Symptoms of macular degeneration include not being able to see properly.

Additionally, the skin around your eyes is extremely sensitive and can be prone to skin cancer if you don’t take proper care and protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV light. Sunscreen can be very helpful in protecting your skin from sun damage. Wearing sunglasses and a hat can save your eye health in the long run.

Wear goggles if you’re going to take a swim

If you’re planning on spending time in the pool, don’t forget to take your goggles. The pool’s chlorinated water, which also might be full of germs, can be dangerous to your eyes in the long run. On the plus side, goggles will enhance your vision for underwater swimming.

Protect your eyes while doing outdoor activities

Wearing eye protection is not only important to avoid sun exposure. You should also wear eye protection when you’re doing outdoor activities like mowing the lawn or woodwork outside, where there’s a risk of something going into your eye and causing long-term injury. Always make sure to wear protection like glasses, goggles or other protective equipment to shield your eyes and face from potential damage.

Wearing protective eye gear is also a good idea if you’re going to be playing sports like baseball or basketball, where there’s a risk of an eye injury.

Taking a proactive approach to eye care can go a long way in keeping vision problems at bay. If you are looking for an expert for a general eye check-up, call Insight Vision Center to get your eyes tested and treated, if needed.

Winter Eye Care tips

Winter weather can be especially problematic if you already have a sensitive body. The skin gets dry, hands and feet get cold, and eyes get teary – these are some of the many problems most people face during the winter months.

Winters can cause several different eye problems. Exposure to harsh winds during the winter months can result in itchy and dry eyes. While it may not be possible to avoid dry eyes altogether, here are some eye care tips to consider this winter.

Keep yourself hydrated

To maintain healthy eyes, it is essential to keep yourself hydrated during winters. Consuming healthy fluids like water, green tea, lemon water instead of caffeine-rich beverages like coffee and tea is ideal. This will prevent the body from getting dehydrated.

Use warm washcloth compression to soothe dry eyes

People with dry eyes typically experience tear secretion. A warm washcloth compression on the eyes can reinstate the moisture in your eyes. This further helps soothe itchy, irritated and swollen eyes and significantly improves your vision.

Follow these tips to reduce excessive tearing of eyes

The cold wind and air make some people tear excessively, which can cause blurry vision. Excessive runny eyes and tearing is usually due to seasonal allergies, cold air and biting winds.

Tips to reduce excessive tearing of eyes:

  • Wipe and swab your eyes with a clean tissue or a soft cloth.
  • Protect your eyes while being outdoors by wearing sunglasses.
  • Try an allergy medication or over the counter eye drops to reduce the effect of seasonal allergies.

Follow these tips to prevent dry eyes in winter

Dry eye is a condition that happens when a person cannot produce enough tears to lubricate the eyes. The external and internal air tends to be drier in the winter. As the eye needs moisture, this can be challenging, and it results in dry eyes.

Tips to prevent dry eyes:

  • A great way to protect eyes from winter dryness is wearing sunglasses.
  • Avoid dryness by using over the counter eye drops and keeping your eyes moisturized at all times. But be mindful of the fact that overusing these products might damage your eyes.

Follow these tips to reduce eye redness

Extreme winter conditions can cause inflammation, tenderness and redness in the eye area. This may result in decolorization of eyes or swollen eyelids, causing seasonal allergies, snow blindness or dry eyes.

Tips to prevent redness:

  • Apply a cool compress like a damp washcloth and take an over-the-counter pain killer to reduce the soreness and redness.
  • If your symptoms persist, consult an eye doctor to determine the cause of the irritation.

Follow these tips to protect your eyes from reflected UV rays

Ultraviolet light injures the eye’s surface, which results in inflammation of the cornea. This may require antibiotic eye drops to treat the infection. Symptoms may include pain, sensitivity to light or redness, pain, and sensitivity to light. Prolonged exposure to UV light is also a major contributing factor in the formation of clouding of the lens or cataracts clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision.

Tips to prevent eyes from reflected UV rays:

  • Wear polarized sunglasses with at least UV400 protection and shield the eyes with eyeglasses.
  • If you’re hitting the icy slopes, make sure your sunglasses and goggles have polycarbonate lenses with UV protection.

We don’t often think of winter as the time of the year when our eyes need superior protection, but unfortunately, they do. Wind, dry air, and reflected UV light create unique challenges that make it essential to take the extra precaution of our eyes while being indoors and outdoors. And while COVID-19 prevails with its undeterred infectious rage, it is critical to be more cautious about other winter-induced seasonal flu by keeping the level of immunity up.

If you’re facing problems during winter, it’s best to see your eye doctor soon. Don’t delay! Call the eye experts at Insight Vision Center to get your eyes tested and treated, if needed.

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