You may have heard of Herpes infections that cause cold sores around your mouth or sores on your genitals. But did you know that you can get a Herpes infection in other parts of your body?

Herpes is an incredibly common viral infection, and you can get it lots of different ways. You can get Herpes around your mouth, genitals, anus, and even your eyes.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can get a herpes infection in your eye, as well as the symptoms, causes, and long-term effects.

Symptoms of Eye Herpes

Eye Herpes, or Ocular Herpes, can cause a range of symptoms. The usual ones include intense eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision. Some people may also have constant tearing, red eyes, and swollen eyelids. Eye Herpes can sometimes bring on headaches and flu-like symptoms, too.

In its more serious manifestations, the virus can infect the deeper layers of the cornea, causing severe tissue damage, chronic inflammation, scarring, and vision loss.

In many cases, only one eye will be infected.

The difference between Eye Herpes and Conjunctivitis

Eye Herpes is sometimes mistaken for Conjunctivitis (also known as Pink Eye), which leads to inflammation and an infection of the conjunctiva (the lining inside the eyelids) and the white of the eye.

The key difference is that Conjunctivitis causes thick and yellow discharge, while Eye Herpes does not. Conjunctivitis can also make the eyes feel stuck shut when you wake up in the morning.

The cause of Eye Herpes

The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), the different strains of which cause Oral and Genital Herpes, can also cause an infection of the eye. After all, Herpes is a virus, and a virus only needs access to a mucous membrane, like the soft lining of the mouth, genitals, anus, and eyes, to infect.

The virus is transmitted through close contact with a person who is infected with the virus. In the case of HSV I, the strain of the virus that tends to cause cold sores, the virus can be transmitted through kissing someone who is infected or by touching an open sore.

In the case of HSV II, the strain that tends to cause Genital Herpes, the virus usually passes on through sexual contact.

Most cases of Eye Herpes are usually transmitted from another part of the body. For example, if you have an HSV I infection that causes a sore, and you touch your sore and then go on to touch your eye, you may develop an Eye Herpes infection.

You can also get Eye Herpes from sexual activity when infected bodily fluids or skin surfaces come in contact with your eye.

How common is Eye Herpes?

Around 1 million people worldwide get an Eye Herpes infection every year, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Men are slightly more likely to get this infection than women.

The recurrence of Eye Herpes

A person with Eye Herpes can experience recurrent infections. The virus can remain inactive and trigger recurrent outbreaks under certain conditions like stress, exposure to extreme sunlight, or poor nutrition.

If you have a Herpes infection in your eye, you may have to live with the infection for life, as there is no cure for the virus. However, the right medication will be able to help you manage any symptoms you may have.

The effects on long-term health of Eye Herpes

The effects of an untreated Eye Herpes infection can be incredibly serious. It can cause:

  • Scarring of the cornea, which may lead to the need for a cornea transplant
  • An increased likelihood of developing viral or bacterial infections in the eye
  • Damage to the optic nerve, which can result in blurred or impaired vision, or even complete loss of vision

Final thoughts

Eye Herpes is a condition that should be taken very seriously. If you are concerned about your sexual health and suspect that you might have contracted an STI, there is no need to panic. Better2Know offers confidential STI testing services that can help allay your concerns and put your mind at ease.

Contact us today to learn more and book an affordable and discreet STI test. Remember, there’s real peace of mind in knowing your STI status.

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