Shingles also known as herpes zostrer. Shingles is a same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can cause several problems with the eye and surrounding skin that may have long term effects. Inflammation and scarring of the cornea, along with conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva) and iritis (inflammation of the iris) are typical problems. Shingles manifests as a vesicular rash, usually in a single dermatome. Development of the rash may be preceded by paresthesias or pain along the involved dermatome. Ocular involvement and zoster keratitis may result if reactivation occurs along the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve. A pproximately 95% of adults in the United States have antibodies to the varicella-zoster virus. Approximately 80% of cases occur in persons older than 20 years. Shingles may be associated with a secondary bacterial infection (typically streptococcal or staphylococcal) of the vesicular rash. Shingles may be complicated by a condition known as post-herpetic neuralgia. Shingles causes a wide range of problems affecting the skin and the eye. Shingles involving the second branch of the trigeminal nerve may be associated with conjunctivitis, keratitis, corneal ulceration, iridocyclitis, glaucoma, and blindness. Shingles is treated with anti-viral, pain and anti-inflammatory medications. Eye drops and ointments may be prescribed to treat ocular problems. Cimetidine, a common component of over-the-counter heartburn medication. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may occasionally be used to reduce inflammation and risk of post-herpetic neuralgia.
Treatment with famciclovir (Famvir) may significantly reduce pain and hasten recovery from an acute attack. Topical creams containing capsaicin may provide some relief from pain. Cover shingles lesions with a clean cloth or loose-fitting gauze after cleansing. Avoid contact with the skin lesions of persons with known herpes zoster infection. Cool wet compresses can be used to reduce pain. Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or lotions and calamine lotion, may help to relieve itching and discomfort. Trim fingernails to reduce the chance of bacterial infection from scratching. Avoid wearing tight clothing over the rash because this could irritate the rash. Avoid exposure to warm and hot water because this could lead to further itching.
Shingles Treatment and Prevention Tips
1. Antidepressant medicines, such as a tricyclic antidepressant.
2. Topical anesthetics, such as lidocaine patches, to numb the area.
3. Anticonvulsant medicines, such as gabapentin or pregabalin.
4. Calamine lotion may help to soothe the rash.
5. Capsaicin is also growing in popularity as a pain treatment
6. Apply cool compresses over the zoster lesions or take a cool bath twice a day.
7. Avoid exposure to warm and hot water because this could lead to further itching.
8. Cover shingles lesions with a clean cloth or loose-fitting gauze after cleansing.
9. Trim fingernails to reduce the chance of bacterial infection from scratching.
10. Avoid wearing tight clothing over the rash because this could irritate the rash.