Managing Common Eye Conditions in the Pharmacy

US Pharmacist 

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Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a viral infection that first appears between the age of 6 months and 5 years.[7] The herpes simplex virus-1 strain affects the eyelids, conjunctiva, and cornea. Typically, the patient presents with an uncomfortable eye, pain, redness, tearing, photophobia, and blurred vision. It is not uncommon to see herpetic vesicles on the eyelids or skin around the eye that rupture, crust, and heal without scarring after about 7 days.[7] All patients presenting with a herpes simplex eye infection should be referred to their physician or ophthalmologist.[6]

Antiviral treatment using topical or oral agents is the mainstay of therapy. Topical trifluridine 1% solution (administered 5–8 times per day) and 200 to 400 mg of oral acyclovir administered 5 times daily are available by prescription. Other options include acyclovir ophthalmic ointment, oral valacyclovir (500 mg 2–3 times daily), and oral famciclovir (250 mg twice daily). Since topical antivirals can cause toxicity if used for more than 2 weeks, they are generally avoided. Similarly, topical steroids are not recommended since they can worsen the infection.[8]

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