Eye Herpes (cont.)
Exams and Tests
Medical evaluation of patients with eye pain or other symptoms begins with a
thorough history and physical examination. The history consists of questions
documenting the symptoms in detail.
- Important questions to be asked and
answered include when the pain or other symptoms started, the location of pain,
the duration of pain, the characteristics of pain, anything that makes the pain
better or worse, what you were doing when the symptoms began, history of contact
lens use, and previous eye injuries, infections, or surgeries.
- Other important
questions are whether you have allergies to medications, your current
medications, past medical history, past surgeries, family history, and social
- The physical examination pertaining to the eyes may consist of
checking your vision, visual inspection of the eye and its surrounding tissue,
eye movements, visual fields (peripheral vision), and the pupil's reaction to
- The doctor may use instruments to get a better look at the eye.
ophthalmoscope, which is a special tool for visualizing the eye, is used to
examine the back of the eye and to view the optic nerve and blood vessels.
slit lamp is a microscope with excellent illumination and magnification to view
the surface of the eye in detail. This instrument allows the evaluation for
possible corneal abrasions and ulcerations. It is also used to look into the
anterior chamber, which is the area between the surface of the eye and the
- Eye pressure can be checked using a tonometer on the slit lamp or a
device known as a Tono-Pen. These two instruments are used if glaucoma is
- The ophthalmologist may also put an anesthetic drop into your eye
for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. This test helps to determine if
the eye pain comes from the surface of the eye or from deeper structures in the
eye. In most cases, pain can be relieved by the topical anesthetic if it
originates from the surface of the eye.
- A dye called fluorescein may be put
into the eye to detect abrasions, ulcerations, or any corneal defect. A special
blue light will be used in conjunction with the fluorescein to check for these
- Sometimes, the doctor may take a sample from the infected area to identify
the virus (viral culture).
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