Eye Herpes (cont.)
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Eye Herpes Causes
Herpes keratitis, commonly known as eye herpes, is an inflammation of the cornea, the clear dome that covers the front part of the eye. Herpes keratitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes is a common family of viruses, and most people carry some sort of herpes virus in them for life. The condition is caused by a reactivation of an already present herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex virus never leaves the body after an initial (or primary) infection. After that primary infection, the virus remains in a dormant stage within the nerves. Sometimes, the virus reactivates and causes further symptoms. It is not known why these viruses can cause keratitis in some people but not others. There are about 500,000 people in the U.S. with a history of herpes simplex eye disease. Approximately 20,000 new cases of ocular herpes occur in the U.S. annually, and more than 28,000 reactivations occur in the U.S. annually. It usually affects only one eye and is one of the most frequent causes of blindness in one eye in the U.S.
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