Prevent shingles in the eye from leaving a lasting damage by getting timely treatment!
Posted: Feb 04, 2015
Shingles is characterized by a red rash and fluid filled blisters which appear along with the rash and which later burst, crust over and fall off. Usually, shingles is concentrated around the middle part of the body and affects the torso, arms and legs. In rare cases, when the virus is not controlled in time or if it is affected due to other health problems, the disease may even spread to the face and to the eye.
Shingles in the eye, also called Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus, can be very dangerous and have lasting damage on the cornea. Reduction or even complete loss of vision is a common report from patients who suffered from shingles in the eye. Besides this, shingles in the eye also results in additional complications as it makes the eye very susceptible to eye infections including cloudiness of the eyes and cataract. Like with other parts of the body, shingles is usually concentrated on only one side of the face, and therefore one eye, but can also spread to both.
Symptoms of shingles in the eye
If the patient has already been diagnosed with shingles, it can be easy to identify the red rash appearing around the eye as shingles which can affect the eye. Also, the following sign and symptoms of Shingles have to be watched out for:
- 1. Extreme headaches which are concentrated on only one side of the head.
- 2. Itching around the eyes with the skin feeling soft or sensitive.
- 3. A red rash around one or both eyes with signs of sores.
- 4. Frequent tearing of the eye.
- 5. Cornea will appear clouded, reducing the vision in one eye.
- 6. Continued redness of the eye.
- 7. Uncommon sensitivity to bright light.
Treatment for shingles in eye
Apart from the prescribed anti-viral drugs and painkillers for shingles, special anti-viral eye drops will be prescribed by the physician to treat the eye shingles. Besides, another eye drop to keep the pupil dilated can also be recommended to avoid spasms in eye muscles and to keep the eye clean. In extreme cases, some steroids have also been administered to patients to control spreading of the disease but it can cause increased eye pressure.
If shingles in eye is diagnosed and treatment started on time, the prognosis is generally good. It usually takes the same number of days for eye shingles to heal as the rest of the body. However, with the eye, there may be some later complications. A burning sensation in the eye will linger, even for weeks after shingles has been completely cured. Patients of eye shingles will also often experience post herpetic neuralgia which indicates that their pain nerves have been damaged.