Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Birmingham Corneal Specialist on Shingles Eye Infections

Birmingham Corneal Specialist Marc Michelson, M.D. explained about shingles eye infections. “Herpes Zoster or shingles eye infection or what we call a keratitis is actually caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, called the Varicella-Zoster virus,” said Dr. Michelson. Sometimes after having chicken pox as a child, the Varicella-Zoster virus can remain in the nerve cells of your body in an inactive state and then reactivate later in life and travel through the nerves in your body causing a painful blistering rash. If the Varicella-Zoster virus travels to your head or neck it can affect the eye and cause a corneal infection or keratitis.”

Dr. Michelson emphasized that it is critical to have Herpes Zoster or shingles eye infections diagnosed quickly as the infection can penetrate deeply into the cornea and it can cause scarring and vision loss. “The shingles eye infection can also result in a loss of corneal sensation, which can be permanent and very undesirable. It may be necessary to prescribe both oral medications and eye drops to try and resolve the infection and prevent serious damage from occurring,” he said. 

While it is possible for anyone who has been exposed to the chicken pox Varicella-Zoster virus to get shingles, it seems to mostly affect those of advanced age and those with weakened or suppressed immune systems. Corneal problems from shingles may occur many months after the facial shingles appear to have resolved so it is important to schedule regular follow up appointments for eye examinations as instructed by your doctor. 

If you or someone you know has had Shingles or Chicken Pox and is experiencing any type of eye problem please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930 and request an immediate appointment with Corneal Specialists Marc Michelson, M.D. or Tyler Hall, M.D. You may also visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or facebook.com/michelsonlaservision so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. 

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center in Birmingham staffed by a team of specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser eye surgery such as LASIK for laser vision correction, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.