Cold sores near the eyes are caused by the herpes simplex virus.
It’s the same virus that causes cold sores around the mouth. Because of that, the cause is the same. Many people use eye drops for ocular cold sores to find relief. There are three different kinds of eye herpes, but only one will be helped by eye drops.
Herpes keratitis is that most common form. It consists of a viral infection of the cornea and affects the outermost layer of the eye. Like a cold sore on the mouth, herpes keratitis will usually run its course without leaving any permanent damage.
Other types of ocular herpes include stromal keratitis and iridocyclitis. They affect deeper layers of the eye and can cause serious damage without medical attention.
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Unsure if you have a viral infection of the eye? Here are the symptoms:
Any pain or discomfort from your eyes shouldn’t be ignored. Ocular herpes, unfortunately, can sometimes be overlooked in its early stages.
But, if it becomes more serious, it can cause permanent scarring or eye damage. So, it’s best to catch it as early as possible, to start treatment.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor as soon as possible, or start using the right kinds of eye drops.
Depending on the severity of your case, there are several different treatment options.
In some cases, your eye doctor may be able to scrape away some of the infection. However, for herpes keratitis, an antibiotic will most likely be prescribed. This can be in the form of a tablet, a gel or ointment, or even medicated eye drops.
The best eye drops for a cold sore of the eye are antiviral drops. These drops will need to be prescribed by a doctor. However, there are over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops that can help with the symptoms of ocular herpes.
Dealing with those symptoms is important as it prevents the spread and growth of the virus. The less likely you are to touch your eye, the less likely it is that you’ll touch another area of your body and cause it to spread.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular eye drops.
The active ingredients are Glycerine, for lubrication, and Naphazoline hydrochloride, to help with redness. While ocular herpes doesn’t usually cause dryness of the eye, the lubricating properties can really help you to find relief.
As a trusted brand, Clear Eyes markets this extra-strength solution as a way of getting rid of redness, itching, and burning. It also acts as a barrier, to decrease the chances of the infection spreading to other areas.
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They focus on the symptoms of ocular herpes. They are Visine’s response to an extra-strength treatment, designed to combat the symptoms associated with ocular cold sores.
These drops are designed to refresh, soothe, and cool your eyes from irritation and redness that can be caused by a viral infection.
Keep in mind that they are intended for treating the symptoms, not the underlying problem. Prescription eye drops or an antiviral gel should be used to get rid of the virus in the eye itself.
When using any eye drops while you have an ocular cold sore, take caution. The tip of the eye dropper should never touch any part of your eye. If it does, you run the risk of the infection spreading, or even coming back after it’s been healed.
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Over-the-counter eye drops don’t heal ocular cold sores. However, they can make you feel better while the virus phases out. Lubrication can provide soothing comfort that can keep you from touching your eyes and risking the spread of the virus.
If you wear contact lenses, you may also be able to find re-wetting eye drops. If you have a viral infection of the eye, however, it’s best to remove contacts altogether.
Re-wetting drops may make them feel better. But, if the virus has reached the contacts, you could allow it to recur every time you put the lenses back in, no matter what drops you’re using.
That’s just one of the many precautionary measures you can take to prevent the spread of an ocular cold sore. It’s also why eye drops can be a useful part of your treatment plan.
If you have herpes keratitis, the best thing you can do is seek advice from an eye doctor. In most cases, the virus can be cleared up without any problems. However, your vision and eye health isn’t something to take lightly.
The types of eye drops for ocular cold sores should be antiviral drops, prescribed by your doctor. Over-the-counter eye drops may be used to supplement them so that you can find relief from the unpleasant symptoms.