Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus


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Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus

Herpes Zoster Opthalmicus And The Herpes Zoster Vaccine

Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus is also known as ocular shingles. It is a re-occurrence of the virus we know as chicken pox. It is a devastating condition with blisters and a crusty rash. It can happen anywhere on your body but the most common place of occurrence is on your face and around you eyes. The occurrences infecting the eyes can be quite serious.

They symptoms begin with pain and/or tingly feelings on your scalp, your forehead, or on one side of your face. A rash will appear anywhere from a few hours to several days once the pain and tingling has started. The rash starts as red spots on your skin and then fluid-filled blisters will appear. These blisters will then rupture and quickly crust over. It takes about 2 weeks for this to subside and have the capacity to cause significant scarring.

Some other symptoms are a sensitivity to light along with reduced vision. When these things occur you should go immediately to your doctor to be diagnosed. The doctor will perform a dilated eye exam and measure your eye pressures. Elevated pressures have the potential to cause glaucoma.

The testing and diagnosing is a simple process based mainly on the rash and pain involved. Most often a test is not necessary. Testing for antibodies for the virus have proven to be of little use most of the time. Treatment is usually done with some anti-viral medications like valacyclovir, acyclovir, and famciclovir. This is most often an oral treatment.

For most people this is a single event and no further outbreaks occur, most of the time the visual outcome is good. However, there are some people who develop chronic disease like uveitis and they will require long term therapy maybe for years.

The herpes zoster vaccine has been licensed to be used for those who are age 60 or above. It is designed to prevent the onset of shingles. The older you become the more harmful the effects of shingles can be. While the vaccine is effective in protecting against shingles, it is not an effective protection against other forms of herpes like genital herpes.

Zostavax is the name of the new vaccine and is only for those age 60 or older. The people who should not receive this vaccine are the ones who have experienced any form of life-threatening or allergic reaction to the use of gelatin, as well as the anti-biotic neomycin, and any other shingles vaccine component.

If your immune system has been weakened due to HIV/AIDS or any disease that affects your immune system, then you should not take this vaccine. Steroid treatments or cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation are also disqualifiers for this vaccine. Pregnant women should also avoid the vaccine.

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