Herpes simplex is a very common virus which may remain inactive in your nervous system for many years. It causes no symptoms until some factor, such as poor health, disturbance of your immune system, or certain drugs cause the virus to become active and travel down the nerves to the surface of the body. If this happens it may cause an infection of your skin, such as a cold sore; or keratitis, which is an infection of your cornea in your eye.
Anyone who has the herpes simplex virus latent in their system may be affected by herpes simplex keratitis.
These include the eye being red, painful, sensitive to light, and having blurred vision.
If you notice these symptoms you should contact your optometrist as soon as possible. If you cannot do this you should phone NHS 111 for further advice. If these symptoms are present in children, or if you wear contact lenses or have the symptoms in both eyes, you should contact your optometrist as soon as possible. If you cannot do this you should phone NHS 111 for further advice.
If you are suspected of having herpes simplex keratitis your optometrist or ophthalmologist will carefully examine your eye to make sure that the back of your eye is not involved. You will then be given antiviral eye drops to treat the infection.