Definition
Herpes simplex is a virus that infects the skin, mucous membranes and nerves. There are two major types of herpes simplex virus (HSV). Type I is the most common and is responsible for herpes simplex eye disease and the familiar "cold sore" or "fever blister." Type II is responsible for sexually transmitted herpes.
The most common herpes simplex eye disease caused is an infection of the cornea, which can potentially threaten sight. The infection varies in duration, severity and response to treatment, depending in part on which of several different strains of HSV type I caused the original infection. It can be considered a "cold sore" or "fever blister" of the eye.
Herpes simplex eye disease usually occurs in only one eye and rarely spreads to the other eye. Spreading the infection to another person is unlikely. It is important to remember that herpes simplex eye disease is not usually caused by HSV type II, the sexually transmitted herpes. Sexual transmission of herpes eye disease is extremely rare.
Symptoms
  • Decreased vision
  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Blisters or ulcers
The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have herpes simplex. However, if you have a history of herpes simplex eye disease and experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.

Treatment
Antiviral eye medications are commonly used to treat herpes simplex and may need to be applied as frequently as one drop per hour. At times it may be necessary to scrape the surface of the cornea, to patch the eye, or to use a variety of medications. In case of severe scarring and vision loss, a corneal transplant may be required. It is very important to consult your ophthalmologist before beginning any treatment since some medications may actually make the disease worse. Medications can also be prescribed to help prevent recurrences of herpes eye infections.