Yes, herpes can infect your eye. When it affects the front part of your eyeball (the cornea), it is called herpes keratitis. The cause of this herpes eye infection is none other than the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is the same virus that can cause cold sores/fever blisters/orolabial herpes. In the same way that it affects the skin of and around your lips, it can affect your eye.

Herpes eye infection may be accompanied by pain, redness, tearing, irritation, blurred vision or difficulty tolerating the light. You may or may not have little water blisters around the eye. These blisters can not only affect the area around your eye, but also the tip of your nose!

Herpes infection of the eye is serious and is an emergency. If you have any concerns of this, see your doctor immediately. The consequences are scarring of the eye which could lead to blindness.

Just like cold sores, herpes eye infection can reappear. That’s because the herpes virus can lay dormant inside the nerves underneath your eye and skin. During flares, the virus reawakens and travels to the skin or eye. If you have frequent herpes eye infection, you may need to take a medication to suppress the virus from reactivating.

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