Lesions, similar to cold sores, will usually develop on the eyelids and eyes themselves when herpes simplex virus (HSV) infects the vision center of the body.
HSV occurring in the eye is known as ocular herpes and is not necessarily sexually transmitted. The virus typically enters through the nose or mouth, journeying through nerves to the eye.
The condition is usually quite visible.“Herpetic infections of the eye occur in about 50,000 Americans each year,” according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. “In most cases it causes inflammation and sores on the lids or outside of the cornea that go away in a few days.”
Different forms of ocular herpes exist. “The most common is the viral infection, a cold sore in the eye,” says Dr. Deborah Pavan Langston of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School.” Typically it causes a branching sore or ulcer on the surface of the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye).”
A condition called stromal keratitis, a leading cause of corneal blindness, develops in about 25 percent of ocular herpes cases.
Additional complications include iridocyclitis, a condition where the iris and adjoining area inflames.