The disease Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus is caused by the reactivation of the Herpes Zoster virus, responsible for chickenpox (often contracted during childhood), which infects one of the nerves in the forehead and eye.
Where does the virus settle?
Herpes Zoster, the ophthalmic zoster virus, can infect, with varying but sometimes very serious degrees, the eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea, episclera, iris and, more rarely, the deeper layers of the eye, like the retina.
What you feel at the very beginning of the disease ?
Tingling and itching on the forehead may be the first signs.
What you feel in the acute phase of the disease ?
There is a rash of itchy then painful vesicles on the scalp, forehead and sometimes to the tip of the nose. These vesicles are usually accompanied by swelling of the eyelids, redness and pain in the eye, and sometimes increased sensitivity to light and blurred vision.
What are the eye complications of the infection?
The infection of the eye with Herpes Zoster can be complicated by the loss of sensitivity of the cornea, scarring of the cornea and leave late sequelae such as glaucoma, cataracts and chronic or recurrent uveitis. These complications can impair vision, sometimes seriously. Also, post-zonatous neuralgia can develop later.
What to do if you have any sign of the disease?
Upon suspicion, it is strongly advised to consult in emergency your doctor specialized in ophthalmology.
What is the means of prevention?
Prevention by vaccine against the Herpes Zoster virus is strongly recommended above the age of 50. It decreases by 97% the risk of contracting the infection by this virus.