Trekking with Daisy 2009-10 travel blog


This morning I saw my regular ophthalmologist for a followup to my eye problem of last Tuesday. He said that it had healed nicely.

Of course Dr. Plunkett also checked my progress regarding my herpes simplex viral keratitis (HSV). He told me that HSV is one of the most common causes of blindness. Yikes!! I had no idea it was that serious.

I researched the condition and found this information: HSV is a DNA virus that commonly affects humans. Infection occurs by direct contact of skin or mucous membrane with virus-laden lesions or secretions. HSV type 1 is primarily responsible for orofacial and ocular infections. HSV keratitis is the most frequent cause of corneal blindness in the United States and is a leading indication for corneal transplantation. HSV keratitis is also the most common cause of infectious blindness in the Western world. Most HSV eye disease occurs in adults and it occurs many years after the primary infection.

That's what happened to me. I had chickenpox at about age four and, as a result, have had several outbreaks of shingles since age 20, always on my left cheek. Apparently that has made my left eye more vulnerable to this HSV eye disease. Dr. Plunkett told me that it cannot be cured but that anti-viral drugs are used to reduce the risk of future flare-ups. I don't know how much longer I will have to take Acyclovir (anti-viral drug). He is not keen to do a corneal transplant because it has only a 50/50 chance of success. All this is a bit discouraging to me, but I remain hopeful that I won't lose vision in my left eye.

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