Herpes simplex eye infections 


Herpes simplex eye infections are eye infections caused by the herpes simplex virus – the same virus group that can cause cold sores and genital herpes.

The infection can cause redness, inflammation and pain in or around the eye, and sensitivity to light (see Herpes simplex eye infections - symptoms, for more information).

Sometimes people can have an active herpes simplex eye infection without any noticeable symptoms.

Who is affected

Herpes simplex eye infections are quite common and usually affect the middle-aged. They affect around one to two people in every 1,000 in the UK.


A herpes simplex eye infection can be a sight threatening condition but is not usually serious if treated promptly. See your GP immediately if you have symptoms. You may need to use eye ointment or drops to clear up the infection (see Herpes simplex eye infections - treatment).

In some cases, a herpes simplex eye infection can permanently damage your eyesight if you do not get it treated straight away. 

Page last reviewed: 27/05/2012

Next review due: 27/05/2014


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

edana said on 03 August 2012

The infection can cause redness, inflammation and pain in or around the eye, sensitivity to light or loss of vision (see Herpes simplex eye infections - symptoms for more information).

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