Sunday, February 25, 2024

Shingles In The Eye And Head

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Shingles

Check Your Health Prevent Shingles from Getting in the Eye

Often the first shingles symptoms happen in the area where the rash will appear. A person may have tingling, itching, or pain in this area. When the rash shows up, the pain may be mild or severe.

The rash starts as groups of tiny pimples on one side of the body or the face. Its often in the shape of a band or belt. The pimples change to pus-filled blisters that break open and scab over in about 710 days. The scabs usually heal and fall off about 24 weeks after the rash starts.

Some kids with shingles also may have a fever and a headache, and might feel tired and achy. Rarely, a child has the pain of shingles without the rash. More severe symptoms can happen, but usually in people over age 50.

Treatment Of Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus

  • Antiviral drugs taken by mouth

  • Corticosteroid eye drops

  • Eye drops to keep the pupil dilated

As with shingles anywhere in the body, early treatment with an antiviral drug such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir can reduce the duration of the painful rash. When herpes zoster infects the face and threatens the eye, treatment with an antiviral drug reduces the risk of eye complications.

Corticosteroids, usually in eye drops, may also be needed if the eye is inflamed.

Eye drops, such as cyclopentolate or atropine, are used to keep the pupil dilated, to help prevent a severe form of glaucoma, and to relieve pain.

What Can I Do Right Now

You can begin to help yourself right now to manage the challenges and stress of PHN by eating better, engaging in relaxation activities, improving your sleep, moving more, and maintaining social connection with others. Engaging in physical activity, even taking short daily walks, will help you feel better.

You also can help yourself by learning about pain and how it works in the body. Once you learn the large role played by the brain in how you experience pain, it can help you take more control over your pain and become less fearful of it. Understanding the Complexity of Chronic Pain, a 10-minute video, is another good resource.

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First Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles

Among the systemic symptoms that may appear in the first few days of the prodromal stage of shingles are:

  • Pain in a specific, localized area of the body
  • Sensitivity to light

The most telling first symptom of shingles typically is the pain. Often excruciating, the discomfort has been described as burning, stinging, tingly, prickly, itchy, numbing, achy, or shooting. It can be persistent or intermittent, but will always be limited to one side of the body.

Because the pain from shingles is localized, it can be mistaken for other conditions depending on where its focused.

For example, a stabbing or persistent pain on one side of the lower back may mistakenly be attributed to sciatica or a kidney problem. Shingles pain around the lips could suggest a cold sore coming on, while pain focused on the eye or ear might seem like the start of a migraine.

The Details: Heres Where Postherpetic Neuralgia Gets Complicated

Cliff Richard reveals false sex abuse claims gave him shingles ...

Postherpetic Neuralgia Causes

To help you understand how shingles can cause PHN, you need to know how you can get shingles. Shingles is caused by a viral infection called herpes zoster. The virus that causes herpes zoster is called the varicella-zoster virus, and it is the same virus that causes chicken pox in childhood. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus can enter the nervous system and remain dormant for many years. In some people, the virus will reactivate years later and produce shingles.4

Researchers arenât exactly sure what triggers the herpes zoster virus to re-emerge after all those years, but they think it is related to age, illness, and stress.3 Shingles can be very painful, and when the virus reaches the skin, it can cause blistery rashes. These rashes usually heal in less than 3 months.

And this chain of events can lead to PHN. If the pain of shingles lingers longer than 3 months, you may have PHN.

During your bout with shingles, the virus you were fighting injured nerves in and around the skin where the rash and blisters once existed. As your immune system eventually suppressed the virus, your rash and blisters disappeared. You may have even felt less pain, and you assumed that you had won the battle with shingles.

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What You Should Know About Shingles

You may not remember having the itchy, painful welts caused by chickenpox. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 99.5 percent of people born before 1980 were infected at one point or another. Anyone who has been infected is at risk for shingles.

When chickenpox infections fade, the virus that caused them does not. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus , and it’s a member of the herpes family. Like most herpes-based illnesses, VZV never really goes away. Instead, it lies dormant within your body.

VZV rests within your nerves, and during a shingles outbreak, the virus triggers inflammation and pain along a nerve band. The CDC says one in three people will get shingles. Most have just one outbreak, but some have repeated problems.

Mayo Clinic says shingles can cause more than pain. The condition can also cause:

  • Persistent fatigue.
  • Sensitivity to light.

Typically, people with shingles will experience blisters along just one small area that wraps around the torso. But any part of the body served by nerves can get hit with shingles. Symptoms last for about two weeks before fading away.

Shingles Symptoms Before Rash

Shingles develops in two stages. The first is called the prodromal period.

Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella virus, which is what causes chickenpox. After an initial infection, the virus lays dormant in the body. Once reactivated, which can happen years down the line, shingles results.

Often, the earliest signs this is occurring are similar to what youd expect at the start of any infection. These symptoms sometimes occur at times when youre feeling stressed or run down. They are also systemic, meaning they affect the whole body.

You may assume youre just overtired or coming down with a cold when you actually have shingles.

Read Also: Can The Shingles Vaccine Cause Eye Problems

Treatments For Ocular Shingles

The treatment for shingles around the eye is the same as treatment for shingles on any other area of the body. Three antiviral drugs have been approved for treatment of shingles.

These drugs can:

  • Shorten the length of a shingles outbreak.

  • Make shingles less painful.

  • Reduce the chances of post-herpetic neuralgia, a complication that can cause ongoing pain and sensitivity after the rash resolves.

In addition to these overall benefits, prompt treatment with antiviral medication can cut in half the incidence of eye disorders in ocular shingles.

Without antiviral medication, 50% of ocular shingles patients will develop eye disorders compared with only 25% of patients who take the medication.

Its crucial to begin taking antiviral medication within 72 hours of the outbreak of the skin rash. It should be started as soon as possible after the rash starts, Rapuano says.

Prevention Of Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus

Shingles and the Eyes | Dr. Alan Mendelsohn

A w recombinant shingles vaccine Herpes Zoster Vaccine There are two herpes zoster vaccines. The newer herpes zoster vaccine is preferred over the older herpes zoster vaccine because it provides better and longer-lasting protection. The newer vaccine… read more is recommended for healthy people aged 50 or over, regardless of whether they have had chickenpox or shingles or been given the older herpes zoster vaccine. The recombinant vaccine is effective in more than 90% of people, whereas the older vaccine was effective in 50% of people.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles In The Eye

When it comes to eye shingles, there is a difference between shingles appearing in the eye versus around the eye. When you have shingles in your eye, you may see them on your sclera .

Shingles in your eye present a higher risk, as it can cause vision problems, including sight loss, even after healing. When the rash appears around your eye, but not in it, doctors refer to it as eye involvement.

Regardless of where it appears, symptoms of shingles typically occur only on one side of the body. That means that even if you have a painful rash in or around one eye, the virus will probably not spread to the other side of your face.

Eye shingles can cause the following symptoms:

  • Facial tingling
  • Red blisters or a rash on the face
  • Eyelid swelling and redness
  • Sensitivity to light

You may also experience more generalized shingles symptoms too, including headache, low-grade fever, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. Shingles typically start as nerve pain, and you will notice the red rash later on the painful areas.

If you initially get shingles elsewhere on your body, they can spread to your face, even after you begin recovering.

Can Eye Shingles Cause Blindness

Even with proper treatment, some eye shingles patients still develop eye disorders such as corneal scarring, glaucoma or retinal disease.

For example, eye shingles can cause:

  • A corneal dendrite which may lead to a scar

In the most severe cases of eye shingles, a patient may need a corneal transplant.

Eye shingles is not contagious. It cannot be spread to another person.

However, a person who has shingles-related rash anywhere on their body can transmit chickenpox virus to someone who hasn’t already had chickenpox or been vaccinated for the condition.

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Hives Can Cause Itchy Red Bumps

Hives are red or skin-colored bumps that can cause mild to severe itching, according to the ACAAI. They typically appear suddenly and disappear quickly. Pressing the middle of a red bump will make it turn white, which is known as blanching. Hives can be caused by a number of triggers, including allergies, cold or hot weather, and infections.

What You Need To Know About Shingles In The Eye: Symptoms And Treatments

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

If youve ever had shingles, you know theyre no picnic. But did you know that shingles can also affect your eyes? They can, and its no fun. However, there are ways to manage the symptoms and ease the discomfort of eye shingles.

Continue reading to learn more about shingles in the eye, including the symptoms as well as possible treatments.

Often referred to as shingles, herpes zoster is a disease of the skin induced by the varicella-zoster virus which is also the virus that is responsible for the spread of chickenpox. Once youve had chickenpox your body and recovered, your body has created immunity against it, so it is extremely unlikely to get chickenpox a subsequent time.

As a result of a strong immune system, the virus will not be active anymore. However, the inactive virus has not been eliminated completely. It will still be present in your body for the rest of your life.

If your immune system weakens or becomes compromised at some point later in life, the virus may reactivate. Herpes zoster occurs when this viral reactivation happens.

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You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox

You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.

But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.

When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.

This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.

When Shingles Strikes Your Face

Dozens of muscles line your face, and they help you talk, eat, blink, and wink. All those movements start with nerve impulses, and any nerve band can get hit with a shingles outbreak.

Just one side of the face is touched by the issue, and the blisters will not spread. If you touch the bumps on one side of your face and then touch the other, you can’t spread the problem around. The virus sits within the nerves, far below the skin, and you can’t influence how the infection spreads.

Your shingles may appear on or around your eyelid, and that can make blinking difficult or painful. Sometimes, the tissues swell, and that makes it hard for you to open your eye.

Also Check: How Would You Know If You Had Shingles

In January 2015 I Knew Nothing About Shingles Or Herpes Zoster Virus

Now, having come close to losing my sight as a result of “ocular shingles” or “ophthalmic shingles”, which is when an episode of shingles attacks the eye, I want to share my experience so that other people might come across this when searching for information about their symptoms and find out the most important things to know and to do, and when to take action.

What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia

Mayo Clinic Minute: What are eye shingles?

Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles infection . Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash and other symptoms. The rash most commonly occurs in a band pattern on one side of your body, usually on your trunk . The rash turns into blisters. As the rash/blisters go away, pain may remain. When pain remains, the condition is called postherpetic neuralgia.

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Am I At Risk For Shingles

Everyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Researchers do not fully understand what makes the virus become active and cause shingles. But some things make it more likely:

  • Older age. The risk of developing shingles increases as you age. About half of all shingles cases are in adults age 60 or older. The chance of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70.
  • Trouble fighting infections. Your immune system is the part of your body that responds to infections. Age can affect your immune system. So can HIV, cancer, cancer treatments, too much sun, and organ transplant drugs. Even stress or a cold can weaken your immune system for a short time. These all can put you at risk for shingles.

Most people only have shingles one time. However, it is possible to have it more than once.

Read Also: Is Shingles An Autoimmune Disease

Preventing Shingles In The Eye

When it comes to shingles and especially ocular shingles prevention is the best medicine.

Fortunately, there are two shingles vaccines:

  • Shingrix A fairly new vaccine, Shingrix is recommended for adults ages 50 and over. You get Shingrix in two doses two to six months apart, and its more than 90% effective in protecting you from shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia. Protection stays strong for at least four years after you get vaccinated.

  • Zostavax An older vaccine for shingles, Zostavax is a live vaccine that is less effective but may be used in healthy adults ages 60 and up if theres a reason they cant have Shingrix administered. For example, someone who is allergic to a component of Shingrix may opt for Zostavax.

The availability of a newer, more effective vaccine should prevent even more shingles outbreaks. We recommend the vaccine for all of our patients, Dr. Rapuano says.

WORRIED YOU MIGHT HAVE EYE SHINGLES ?Find an optician near you and schedule an appointment.

Page published on Sunday, 24 May 2020

Page updated on Wednesday, 2 February 2022

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What Are The Risk Factors Of Herpes Zoster Virus In The Eye

Varicella zoster virus can also cause a serious complication called postherpetic neuralgia. This is a condition where the virus damages the nerves, causing severe pain that can last for months or even years.

Eye shingles are caused by a variety of factors that can increase your likelihood of developing the disease. These include:

-Weakened immune system:

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Getting shingles is more likely if you have a weakened immune system. Weakened immunity can be caused by conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or taking certain medications such as steroids.

-Age:

A persons chances of contracting shingles increase as they age. This is because the varicella zoster virus stays dormant in your nerve cells as you age, and your immune system becomes less able to fight off the virus. Shingles is most common in people over the age of 50.

-Family history:

If you have a family member who has had shingles, you are more likely to develop the condition yourself.

-Previous exposure to chickenpox:

If you have previously been exposed to chickenpox, you are more likely to develop shingles later in life. This is because the varicella zoster virus lies dormant in your body after you have had chickenpox and can reactivate later on.

Can Shingles Make You Feel Weird

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Most cases of shingles cause severe pain and itching, and can leave scars. Fluid-filled blisters develop, break, and crust over during and a few weeks after an outbreak. You also may feel sick or fatigued, with a slight fever or headache. However, it is possible to have rashes that are so mild theyre not even noticed.

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Shingles On The Face: Symptoms Treatments And More

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Shingles on the face

Shingles, or zoster, is a common infection that occurs due to a herpes virus.

Shingles is a rash that usually appears on one side of the chest and back. It can also develop on one side of the face and around the eye.

The condition can be very painful and can sometimes have long-term side effects. No cure for shingles is available, but early treatment can lower your risk of serious complications.

second most common rash site is the face. It can spread from the ear to the nose and forehead. It can also spread around one eye, which can cause redness and swelling of the eye and surrounding area. The shingles rash occasionally develops in the mouth.

Many people feel a tingling or burning sensation days before the first red bumps appear.

The rash starts out as blisters filled with fluid, or lesions. Some people have a few clusters of blisters scattered about, and others have so many that it looks like a burn. The blisters eventually break, ooze, and crust over. After a few days, the scabs start to fall off.

Other symptoms of shingles are:

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