Herpes simplex keratitis occurs when the herpes simplex virus infects the keratin of the eye. While this condition can be disruptive, its treatments are relatively simple. Some of the most common forms of treatment for herpes simplex keratits include using prescription medications, debridements, and steroid drops. In severe cases, surgery may be required to completely eradicate the condition.
One of the most common forms of treatment for herpes simplex keratitis is through the use of medications. Examples of common medications that are used to treat this condition include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. These medications are typically all prescribed in the pill form, and work best when taken during an outbreak of the condition. They also can be used with some success, however, in the prevention of future outbreaks of herpes simplex keratitis, especially by those who suffer from repeated outbreaks. Medicated eye drops or ointments are also sometimes prescribed for patients who are suffering from the symptoms of herpes simplex keratitis.
Debridement is another common treatment for herpes simplex keratitis, which involves scraping away the damaged or infected ocular tissue. In this treatment, a physician typically uses a small spatula-like tool to remove the infected part of the corneal tissue. After the debridement has been completed, patients who have undergone the treatment typically are required to wear an eye patch for a few days in order to protect the eye during healing. In some cases, a soft, clean contact lens may be adequate to protect the eye following debridement.
Steroid drops are also sometimes given to those who suffer from herpes simplex keratitis. These drops typically are not effective in treating the actual infection, but instead help to decrease swelling associated with it. In addition, steroid use decreases the risk of scarring sometimes experienced by individuals infected with herpes simplex keratitis. Steroid drops typically provide best results in patients whose infection runs deeper than just the outer layer of the cornea.
For the most severe cases of herpes simplex keratitis, surgery may be required. Surgery is usually unnecessary, and is often only required if the patient suffering from the condition has a significant decrease in his or her visual capabilities. Patients who are considering surgery for the treatment of their condition are often highly screened in order to make sure they are healthy enough for surgery.