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4th December, 20201 min read

Shingles in the eye

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Last reviewed: 01/12/2020
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

In this article

Shingles is a viral infection of a nerve and the skin around it. The nerves affected can include those that supply the surface of the forehead, eye, eyelids and nose. The virus that causes shingles is called varicella-zoster virus (VZV).

When it affects the eye, it’s called ophthalmic shingles or herpes zoster ophthalmicus.

If you develop shingles in your eye, you may first notice tingling in your forehead, a headache and fever, and you may feel generally unwell.

You may then develop a rash, pain or sensitivity in the affected eye, forehead and top of your head.

How is shingles in the eye treated?

Shingles in the eye is a serious condition that needs urgent medical attention. See a doctor or go to hospital immediately if you think you have it.

A doctor may give you antiviral drugs and steroid eye drops. You can also manage the symptoms by taking painkillers as needed and putting a wet compress on your eye. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice about the best painkillers to take, where to get them and how to take them safely.

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