How is eye herpes treated?

Treatment for eye herpes begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. Eye herpes is typically treated with antiviral eye drops or topical ointments. More severe cases may be treated with steroid drops. Your doctor may also try to remove affected cells manually by brushing them off of your cornea with a cotton swab.

Although the administration of eye drops or ointments is generally effective for the treatment of eye herpes, it does not work in all patients. Left untreated, or if treatment is not effective, severe corneal scarring may result. In some cases, a corneal transplant is required to restore normal vision.

What are the potential complications of eye herpes?

Complications from eye herpes are generally not life threatening, but they can be serious and lead to loss of vision. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of eye herpes include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Corneal swelling with inflammation and scarring
  • Chronic eye discomfort
  • Loss of vision and blindness


  1. Ocular herpes. National Eye Institute.
  2. Guess S, Stone DU, Chodosh J. Evidence-based treatment of herpes simplex virus keratitis: a systematic review. Ocul Surf 2007; 5:240.

What is eye herpes?

Eye herpes, or ocular herpes, is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Herpes infections that affect the eye are usually caused by HSV type 1 infections, which are also a common cause of cold sores and blisters on the face, rather than type 2 infections, which affect the genitals. In rare cases, an infant can develop an HSV 2 infection during birth when the mother is infec... Read more about eye herpesintroduction


What are the symptoms of eye herpes?

Several common symptoms often occur in an eye herpes infection. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider to prevent permanent damage to the eye.

Common symptoms of eye herpes

You may experience eye herpes symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these common symptoms can be severe:


What causes eye herpes?

Eye herpes is caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV), usually type 1. Symptoms can appear soon after infection or at any later time. It is believed that the majority of the population is exposed to HSV at some point in their life, usually during childhood. However, the virus can remain dormant for extended periods of time. When the virus reactivates, it can cause a herpes outbr... Read more about eye herpescauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Eyes and Vision

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