optical herpes v. neuritis

Hello, does anyone know whether optical herpes might be confused with optic neuritis.  When I was about 17 I was told I had optical herpes zooster...anyway thought it might be relevant and did a google.  I remember that I had a super blinding headache and that doesn't seem to come up on the list of symptoms for herpes.  I also remember that I was seen, in the dim dark middle of th night, by a very nervous student doctor who was, even to my untrained schoolgirl eye, worried and lacking in confidence.  Am now wondering if he might have made a mistake... Thanks again for any advice.  All best wishes to everyone.  Lucy :) x

With my limited eye knowledge I can only say optical herpes or optical shingles can affect the eyes. The herpes zoster virus loves the fifth nerve (trigeminal nerve) and can manifest in the face as cold sores, facial shingles or herpes zoster opthalmicus as well as affecting other body parts. Patients usually will have sores on the face. In terms of eyes it can be quite painful and uncomfortable and may affect the cornea and cause ulcers and pain (5th nerve provides sensation to the cornea), the lids, cause uveitis, retinal problems, nerve palsies and glaucoma secondary to steroid treatment. Symptoms maybe, redness, blurry vision, pain, photophobia etc

Where as optic neuritis would reduce your colour VA and contrast, increase blind spot you may have pain also and be photophobic and you'll have swelling of the optic disc (papillodema). Optic neuritis is basically a swelling of the optic nerve.

So you can see some of the symptoms do overlap though the cuase and mechanism are very different. Remember I'm not an eye doctor though.

Incidentally what were you treated with? Was it acyclovir or steroids if you can remember? 


Wow!  You know loads.  I was given Zovirax, it was so long ago that it was still a trial drug at the time!  Thanks so much, Lucy

No problem Lucy :-)

Zovirax (or acyclovir as the medical name) wouldn't help optic neuritis if you were misdiagnosed. I'm presuming the treatment did help you and your symptoms cleared? Sounds like perheps you did have optical herpes in that case, though of course optic neuritis can get better without any treatment so we can't be a 100% sure.

Hope that helped :-)