How Do You Treat Shingles of the Eye?

Shingles of the eye is treated by administering oral antiviral medication, antiviral eye drops or both, according to WebMD. These medications are only fully effective if administered within five days of the onset of symptoms. Other treatments include pupil dilators to keep the eye from spasming and steroid eye drops.

Diagnosis of ocular shingles involves a physical examination and scraping the blister to get a sample to be viewed under a microscope. The doctor may send the fluid from the sore to the lab for further testing.

Pain can continue for several days during treatment of shingles of the eye, even when the eye’s appearance improves, WebMD states. In a few cases, pain in the eye can last weeks or even months, which may require the attention of a chronic pain specialist. It is important that any medications administered be taken for as long as prescribed by the physician. Steroid eye drops can increase the pressure in the eye, so this should be monitored.

Shingles of the eye is caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox and shingles in other parts of the body, according to WebMD. Herpes zoster often exists harmlessly in people’s bodies for decades after first being acquired as childhood chickenpox. It can cause an outbreak of shingles later in life, most often when the immune system is weakened. Shingles of the eye is usually accompanied by a skin rash near the eye.