Eye herpes

Eye herpes, also known as ocular herpes, is an infection of the eye by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The most common type is called epithelial keratitis, and it affects the cornea, the clear front portion of your eye. In its mild form, eye herpes causes: pain and inflammation.


APPOTEK can help you with ocular herpes.


Ocular herpes causes inflammation of the cornea. Common symptoms include pain, inflammation, redness, tearing of the cornea surface and sensitivity to light.
If the infection is due to shingles, there is also often severe painful skin inflammation in the forehead and / or on an eyelid in addition to the eye being affected.
In most cases, the inflammation is superficial, but it can go deeper into the cornea and cause permanent vision problems.


There are two types of herpes viruses that can cause eye herpes, herpes simplex and herpes zoster. Once infected with herpes virus, you can’t completely eradicate it from your body. The virus can lie dormant and then reactivate from time to time.


Herpes simplex is a common virus carried by about 75% of all adults. Not everyone knows about it – and not everyone gets any symptoms, as it can remain dormant. The most common symptom of herpes simplex is cold sores. Herpes simplex can cause recurring eye herpes.


Herpes zoster is the virus that causes chickenpox. The virus can reactivate and cause shingles. In rare cases, the shingles can affect the eye. It is then called Herpes ophthalmicus.

Prevention and protection

Currently there are no proven methods for preventing HSV keratitis, but some steps may help to control HSV keratitis recurrences:


  • Avoid touching your eyes or the area around your eyes unless you have washed your hands properly—especially if you have a cold sore or herpes blister.
  • Only use eye drops that have been prescribed or recommended by an eye doctor or health care provider.


In case of eye herpes, you need to call your doctor to get the right treatment. Don’t use contact lenses when the eye is irritated.


Treatment consists of antiviral medication in the form of ointment and/or tablets, which can be prescribed by your doctor.

When to consult a doctor

If you have symptoms of eye herpes, see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, both doctors who specialize in eye health. Early treatment may improve your outlook. It is important that the correct treatment is initiated as early as possible.

How APPOTEK can help

APPOTEK can connect you to a doctor or ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.