CLL Support Association

Shingles and Eyes

I have an attack of shingles and have been given anclovir which are doing a good job.

I have one blister on my eyelid right next to the lashes and have been told to watch it and to contact the surgery if I'm at all worried. I forgot to ask my doc at the time - just exactly what am I looking for?

Can anyone tell me what symptoms I can expect if there are 'complications' with my eye? Redness? Pain? Swelling? Weeping?

I'm confused. At the moment its itching like mad and I have to be careful not to rub it .... the lid is a bit swollen and find of hanging down into my line of sight which is odd, but the white of the eye is clear.

2 Replies

I had a similar zoster reactivation... but likely a different nerve pathway, mine was Trigeminal nerve V2, yours sounds like V1, which involves the forehead and upper eye lid.... runs down the bridge of the nose, but only on one half the face. I was on Valtrex in 18 hours and only had a single blister site on the side of my nose.

Face nerve map...

I was seen by an ophthalmologist immediately, because my lower eye lid drooped and sort of hung open causing my eye to dry out... I was give special eye drops... and wore an eye patch. I had 'ice pick' pain shooting into the corner of my eye and tear duct.

Complications... two years later I have no feeling on the right half of my face, my jaw feels like I have a permanent dental novocaine shot and I only have taste in half my mouth. I went through a period of speech problems, that lasted a few weeks, but has thankfully resolved. I have no feeling in half my upper jaw or teeth.

I strongly recommend you see an ophthalmologist... immediately, to rule out Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus [HZO] which effects the ophthalmic (eye) nerve division.

Here is an excellent article on Shingles...



This appears to be a good link for more info on Zoster and the eye:

At age 52, three years before I was diagnosed with CLL, I had a an upper trigeminal Zoster breakout that caused blisters on my forehead above the eye, and the worst headache I've ever had in my life. It started on a Saturday night, and I saw a doctor on the following Monday, who prescribed valcyclovir, I believe. At the time, I was working in the IT department of one of the 2 hospitals still open after hurricane Katrina.

Some weeks later, I got the feeling that I had a grain of sand between my upper eyelid and the sclera. I saw an opthalmologist who prescribed Viroptic drops, and acyclovir, neither of which helped much. It developed into keratitis - a cornea inflammation, from which I still suffer daily, 7 years later. Stress makes it worse - cloudy vision on that side. At worst, I'm 20/600 in that eye with glasses on. At best, it's about 20/300 with glasses. Glare is bad at night for driving, so I wink the eye. I tried a patch, but I'm not really the pirate type.

I've also had trouble with the ear on that side, but it's not clear if it's due to the Zoster or secondary infections. When eyes tear up, sinuses get clogged. Along with this, the eyelid opens less wide on the affected side, and I get tears when eating breakfast sometimes. I was getting recurring eye and ear infections for a once or twice a year for a couple of years - conjunctivitis - but that has subsided after antibiotic ointment and drops and oral antibiotics and quitting my job at the hospital for a less stressful one. I think the antibiotics have fairly wrecked my digestive biome, though. I'm on a low FODMAP diet now for fructans and polyols.

I use fluorometholone drops as needed when the eye gets really cloudy. The original Zoster breakout happened during tree pollen season after Hurricane Katrina. That's still my worst time of the year for flareups. I also use Pataday drops daily during allergy season, which is about 9 months of the year here. Too much steroid may cause a cataract. I was on a stronger steroid until the cataract started, and dropped back to the weaker fluorometholone.

I'm still early stage CLL, trisomy 12, mutated heavy chains, with fairly low WBC and absolute lymph counts. Along with the eye, ear and some digestive trouble, fatigue is my big complaint. I tend to view these as co and even pre-existing problems that may drive me crazier than the CLL watching and waiting. I've had allergies and digestive trouble my whole life.

Stress, Zoster breakouts, and post herpetic neuralgia seem to be very related.



You may also like...