What Are Shingles In the Eye?

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EyeQue Team

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October 22, 2019

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Shingles In the Eye

If you’ve ever had shingles, you know that the virus can be incredibly painful and itchy, causing rashes to form all over your body. But did you know there’s also a condition called shingles in the eye?

What Are Shingles in the Eye?

Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus (HZO) is a disease also known as shingles in the eye. This condition, like other forms of the shingles virus, creates a skin rash which can be very painful.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Shingles in the Eye?

If you’ve ever had chickenpox in the past, the virus could become active again and cause it. The shingles virus most commonly becomes active in adults over the age of 50 and in those with weakened immune systems.

If you’ve never had the chickenpox, you could become infected with the herpes zoster virus (including HZO) by someone currently experiencing active symptoms. The AAO recommends getting a shingles vaccine if you are 50 or older.

Shingles in the Eye Symptoms

HZO manifests in the same way as other forms of the shingles virus through the following stages:

  1. Pain, itching, redness, and numbness on the skin
  2. Rash develops
  3. Rash forms blisters, which break open and develop scabs

Other symptoms could include:

Can Shingles in the Eye Lead to More Serious Health Issues?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports shingles in the eye can lead to severe problems including:

Shingles in the Eye Treatment

Common treatment options include:

  • Compresses over your closed eyes
  • Medication or eye drops to reduce symptoms, treat the virus, and prevent infections

If your shingles have caused a more severe vision issue, your eye doctor may recommend surgery or stronger medicine.

If you believe you have shingles in the eye, visit a licensed eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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