Shingles in the eye

Shingles in the eye

Shingles in the eye is a serious, vision-threatening infection that affects the eye and the skin surrounding the eye. Shingles in the eye is caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox in children. After infection, the virus remains dormant in the nerves and can reactivate, resulting in shingles in people with weakened immune systems. Shingles in the eye is caused when the virus is reactivated in the nerves that supply the eye area.

Shingles in the eye
shingles in the eye pictures

Symptoms of shingles in the eye

If you have Shingles in the eye, you will most likely have a rash on one side of your face or forehead that looks like chicken pox. A group of small blisters may develop around one of your eyes. Up to one week before the rash appears, you may feel ill with fatigue, malaise, and possibly a low-grade fever. In some cases, you may feel pain in the affected area a few days before blisters appear.
Shingles in the eye
shingles in the eye pictures
Shingles are quite painful, as they affect the sensory nerves in the body. The presence of a rash on the area surrounding the eye distinguishes shingles from other eye ailments. The symptoms of shingles are as follows
  • Pain in the affected side of the face
  • Redness in the eye, eyelids, and surrounding areas
  • Blistered rash on the affected area which may spread as far as the tip of the nose
  • Swelling of the cornea
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision in the affected eye
  • A pricking sensation in the eye
  • Discharge from the eye
The virus may affect various parts of the eye including the eyelid, cornea, iris, retina, and the optic nerve. Consult the doctor at the earliest if you notice these symptoms, as a delay in treatment may cause substantial damage to your eye.

Shingles in the eye contagious

Shingles are caused by a virus, which makes them contagious. However, they are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, so if a person has suffered from this disease previously, he/she develops an immunity to it. The infection spreads through contact with raw blisters, so patients are refrained from going to public places. People (pregnant women, in particular) who have not had chickenpox in their childhood are susceptible to shingles.

Shingles in the eye treatment

If you are noticing symptoms, be sure to visit your doctor and get diagnosed as early as possible. If you are diagnosed with Shingles in the eye, your doctor will prescribe an antiviral medication in an attempt to limit the virus' replication, and reduce subsequent pain and symptoms. A steroid eye drop may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation. You will also be instructed to keep the affected areas clean and to avoid scratching the lesions in order to prevent scarring or bacterial infection.

Various methods may be employed to bring relief from the persistent pain. These may include all or some of the following:
  • Topical applications with steroid-antibiotic combination to heal the blisters
  • Medicated eye drops for alleviating pain and redness
  • Analgesics may also be prescribed to relieve pain
  • The importance of timely diagnosis followed by treatment cannot be undermined. It may also lower the risk of postherpetic neuralgia, which is characterized by pain and sensitivity that is felt along the affected dermatome, even after the visible signs of the viral infection disappear.
  • Since it occurs due to reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox, getting vaccinated for chickenpox can help in preventing shingles.

  • A person with a compromised immune system becomes susceptible to various diseases, including shingles. Therefore, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet and take steps to strengthen the immune system. Stress may act as a trigger, so it is important to stay relaxed and stress-free. Cutting down on smoking and consumption of alcohol is also recommended.

  • To reduce pain, you may be instructed to apply cool compresses to the affected areas. Over-the-counter medicines are sometimes helpful for pain. It is not unusual for cases of Shingles in the eye to be admitted to the hospital.

You Can Get Shingles it the Eyes

Shingles in the eye is prevalent among people and can be serious condition. It can lead to blindness if not treated by a doctor or ophthalmologist when signs are present or if it is believed to be onset. The sooner that Shingles in the eye is treated, the less time that it will affect a person's life.