Shingles is a common viral infection that often appears as a painful, burning, or itchy rash. About one in three adults in the United States will experience shingles. This infection occurs when the childhood chicken pox infection reactivates during a period of stress or with weakened immune system. This infection frequently appears on the torso of the body, however, up to 20% of shingles infections can affect the nerves of the head.
When shingles occurs in the nerves of the head, it can frequently cause a rash on the forehead, eyelids, and even a red, irritated eye. This infection could damage both internal and external structures of the eye. If you develop shingles on your forehead, upper face, or scalp, it is important to have a full eye examination with your eye care provider to protect your vision.
The key to overcoming shingles is quick diagnosis and treatment. However, shingles can also be prevented. The best way to prevent shingles is with a newer, more effective shingles vaccine, Shingrix. Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine recommended for adults over age 50. If you would like to learn more about preventing shingles or its painful companion, post-herpetic neuralgia, schedule an appointment with your medical doctor to discuss your options.
If your eyes are currently red or irritated, schedule an appointment with your eye care doctor. He or she will help you to determine the cause of your discomfort and find a treatment plan that works for you.