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I was diagnosed with shingles on the right side of my head

Customer Question
about 6 weeks ago....
I was diagnosed with shingles on the right side of my head about 6 weeks ago. They went from my scalp down the right side of my neck and seemed to disappear, but my doctor said she could still see them on my head about a week ago. I had the viral med right away as soon as the shingles were visible. I felt pretty good and got back to work about 5 days after diagnosis. This morning I woke up with what looks like viral pink eye on the same side of the head that the shingles were on. Very red, no discharge but sensitive to light and hurts. I put a patch on my eye to get rid of the light and it helps alot. Could my head shinges have caused pink eye? I have to go to work tomorrow but not sure if this could be a shingle in my eye, or if that is unlikely. Need your thoughts Thanks!
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Eye
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Answered in 47 minutes by:
8/21/2011
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 6 years ago
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11,654
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Customer:

thx

Customer:

am i suppose to ask question again?

Dr. Rick :

No. I'm here...

Customer:

ok I'll wait for your answer then Tx

Dr. Rick :

No. I don't think that the shingles virus, which is actually chicken pox reactivated, cause pink eye but it may have spread to your eye.

Dr. Rick :

If you were to close the affected eye and look at a bright light (like a lamp) with the other, unaffected eye, does the light still bother you?

Customer:

So how do i know if that is it? My eye is very red but no discharge No light does not bother me in other eye

Dr. Rick :

Ok. Well, the best way is to see an ophthalmologist tomorrow. If you call and tell then what is going on I'm sure they will get you in right away. Is this an emergency that should be checked out today? From what you are telling me, I think you would be OK to wait until Monday AM. In any event, seeing a regular ER doc would be of little value unless they could get an ophthalmologist to come to the hospital to evaluate you.

Dr. Rick :

the shingles may have started to invade your cornea or maybe even the inside of your eye (uveitis).

Customer:

ok if not red or hurting tomorrow, I should skip it I would imagine. Is this common? It was the right side of my scalp and behind my ear as well as 1 shingle in my ear that was the problem i think i had a mild case.

Customer:

there is a film over the eye too

Dr. Rick :

Yes, this can occur as the branch of the nerve that serves your scalp/ear area is part of a larger trunk that also sends branches to the eye. Since the shingles virus has reinfected the entire trunk as well as branches it is easy for it to go down the other branch into your eye.

Dr. Rick :

The film could be due to a bunch of causes/ sources of infection. Since your vision is affected I think you should try to see an eye doc even if the redness improves.

Customer:

ok I will get referral from regular doctor tomorrow for an appointment with an eye doctor I guess. Ok Do you think it may be a virus from the shinges that went into a viral pink eye?

Dr. Rick :

If it is back to 100% normal (which I very much doubt it will be) then you could consider not going to see an ophthalmologist.

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

ok thank you very much. i really appreciate your answer

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure. I hope you feel better soon.

Dr. Rick :

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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
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Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 6 years ago
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Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest

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