In the cold season, various diseases can recur (reappear) and manifest (for the first time noted). Including herpes, which has been sleeping until now, can wake up. And it can become inflamed not in the usual places – on the lips and in the nose, but on … the eyes. This condition is called herpetic keratitis. Why is he dangerous, told Candidate of Medical Sciences, ophthalmologist Lyubov Romanova.
“Herpetic keratitis is an inflammatory disease of the cornea caused by herpesviruses. According to statistics, about 90% of the world’s population are carriers of these viruses. But up to a certain point, they are in a dormant state and do not cause discomfort to a person, since our immune system suppresses them. Viruses of this type become active when a person’s immunity decreases, ”explains the specialist. This, Lyubov Romanova lists, can happen:
- as a result of hypothermia;
- with acute respiratory diseases;
- taking antibiotics, corticosteroids and some other drugs;
- hormonal failure;
- alcohol abuse and other factors.
During an exacerbation, the herpes virus usually affects the mucous membranes. As a rule, these are the mucous membranes of the oral and nasal cavities. But in some people, it affects the eyes. Most often the cornea. Then there is herpetic keratitis. Every yearin world, more than 150 thousand people fall ill with it, says ophthalmologist Romanova.
The danger of pathology
“Unfortunately, herpetic keratitis tends to recur. If a person fell ill with it once, then the probability that the inflammation will recur within a year is about 25%. If there were two such cases, then the probability increases to 50%, ”the ophthalmologist emphasizes.
How to recognize
Herpetic keratitis has a number of distinguishing features, says Lyubov Romanova. Symptoms of herpetic keratitis include:
- redness of the mucous membranes of the eyes;
- sensation of a foreign body in the eye;
- pain, discomfort, or pain in the eyes;
- pronounced photophobia.
In fact, the ophthalmologist notes, people present with complaints similar to the clinical picture of ordinary conjunctivitis. Therefore, it is possible to make an accurate diagnosis in order to start the correct treatment only after a thorough examination by an ophthalmologist and on the basis of the tests performed.
“There are cases when uveitis, an inflammation of the choroid, joins herpetic keratitis. For the timely provision of quality medical care, it is important, without delay or delay, to consult a doctor. This should be done as soon as the first symptoms appear. The fact is that the lack of adequate treatment and frequent relapses of the disease contribute to the spread of the virus in the body, and its strains become more resistant to drug therapy, ”explains ophthalmologist Romanova.
Only a doctor will offer drug therapy itself – self-medication is unacceptable here. There are high risks of aggravating the situation. So the course of drugs, dosage and combination of drugs can only be determined by an ophthalmologist.
The most difficult clinical cases of herpetic keratitis – with the formation of a corneal ulcer, the doctor says, can lead to its perforation. Treatment in such a situation will already be surgical – after stopping (taking control) of the inflammatory process, a cornea transplant is performed. Therefore, in order to prevent serious consequences, the disease in the early stages cannot be ignored.
As for prevention, there is none. The best option would be to take care of your health, strengthen your immune system and keep it strong, give up bad habits, maintain personal hygiene (do not touch your eyes with your hands, especially dirty ones) and the principles of a healthy lifestyle, sums up Lyubov Romanova.