News just in from our client, Pediatric Eye Associates about Herpes Eye Disease in Children.

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In this discussion, we will delve into the intricacies of herpes eye disease in children, providing valuable insights to empower parents with the knowledge needed to safeguard their children’s eyes.

What is herpes eye disease in children?

Herpes eye disease in children, also known as herpetic eye disease or ocular herpes, refers to an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can affect anyone, including pediatric patients. 

There are two types of herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is more commonly associated with oral herpes, including cold sores, but can also cause herpes eye disease. HSV-2 is typically linked to genital herpes, and while less common, it can also cause ocular herpes. Herpes eye disease in children can manifest in various forms, including:

  1. Herpes simplex keratitis

This form affects the cornea—the clear, front part of the eye. It may lead to painful areas on the surface of the cornea and, if not treated promptly, can result in scarring and vision impairment.

  1. Herpes simplex iridocyclitis

This form involves inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body inside the eye. It can cause pain, redness, and sensitivity to light.

  1. Herpes simplex retinitis

In rare cases, the infection may reach the retina, the back part of the eye responsible for transmitting visual information to the brain. Herpes simplex retinitis can potentially lead to vision loss.

What causes it?

Children can contract herpes eye disease through exposure to the herpes simplex virus, typically from an infected person’s saliva, respiratory droplets, or other bodily fluids. 

The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the eyes.

What are the common symptoms of herpes eye disease?

One of the first steps in understanding herpes eye disease is recognizing the symptoms that may manifest in children. Active vigilance is key, as early detection can significantly impact the effectiveness of treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Visible vesicles or sores
  • Excessive tearing or watery eyes
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Sensitivity to light or photophobia
  • Blurry vision
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Eye discharge
  • Swelling

As a parent, being attuned to these signs allows for prompt action and minimizes the potential impact on a child’s vision.

If a child exhibits any of these symptoms, especially if they persist or worsen over time, it is crucial to seek prompt medical attention from an eye care professional.

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