20. June 2011 12:00
Actually, we have many patients each year who come in with a red eye. Often, they look like a typical conjunctivitis. This is where the history can be really important. Upon questioning, some of these patients will report cold sores on their lips when they are in the sunlight a great deal or under stress. Interestingly, the same herpes virus which can cause cold sores often can cause inflammation in the eye. The eye can
become inflammed even when the lips are not having a problem because the virus remains in our system and can come down different branches of the nerve which could involve the eye or the mouth.
There are many causes of conjunctivitis including the herpes virus. This is totally unrelated to the sexually transmitted disease version of this virus. It is important to see your eye care professional any time you have a red eye which persists. There are topical and oral antiviral medicines which work extremely well for this eye condition. Your eye care professional can diagnose the type of conjunctivitis and prescribe the appropriate medicine depending on the cause.
Remember, protect those eyes!!
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