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I just touched very close to an active HSV-1 genital sore

and then touched my eye...
I just touched very close to an active HSV-1 genital sore and then touched my eye. Can I take any immediate precautions (eyewash)? I am already taking antivirals.
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/6/2012
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11,639
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.

Dr. Rick :

It is very unlikely that you will spread the HSV1 infection to your eye by touching close to a lesion and then touching your eye.

Dr. Rick :

Just washing your hands and face with warm water and soap should take care of things

Dr. Rick :

You need not worry....I believe you will be fine and that you have not done anything to move the infection toward your eye.

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

Thank you. I'm concerned because I've read from numerous online sources that the virus is very easy to transmit this way. To be clear, I touched perhaps 5 mm from an active genital lesion and then directly touched my eyeball.


Dr. Rick :

It is not that easy to transmit to other parts of your body. You will be fine. No need to worry. :-)

Customer:

Not sure if you saw my last reply, here it is. Thank you. I'm concerned because I've read from numerous online sources that the virus is very easy to transmit this way. To be clear, I touched perhaps 5 mm from an active genital lesion and then directly touched my eyeball.

Customer:

So I appreciate the reassurance but it directly contradicts other sources.

Dr. Rick :

That is why you are talking to a doctor with two decades of experience right now instead of Mr. Google :-)

Dr. Rick :

Are you still there?

Dr. Rick :

I guess you have stepped away from your computer.

Dr. Rick :

Please remember the top 3 ratings are positives and Excellent service is my goal. Your positive feedback is how we are compensated. If you aren't 100% satisfied, just click "reply." I will be happy to discuss your issue in more depth and do everything I can to provide you with the information you require.

Otherwise, a high positive rating is very much appreciated, bonuses are great, and find me anytime for follow up.


Let me know if you have further questions.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

The sources I'm seeing that state transmission is common in this manner are herpes.com, which states: "You can also contract herpes of the eye by self-inoculation and contamination during your own active herpes infection or cold sore." Numerous other sites contain similar information. Unless you have some source that would indicate otherwise, I feel like your answer is unfortunately incorrect.

Ok. I can accept that you don't believe me.
But, I can tell you that as an eye surgeon who has treated many, many patients with ocular herpes, from what you have posted, you really do not have to worry that you will come down with ocular herpes from what you have done.
Clinical experience is why we have doctors. If what is written in textbooks and online was all that there was to the art of medicine then computers could practice medicine.
I wish you the very best. Have a good weekend.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

I do appreciate your reassurances, and of course very much want to believe them. Can you give me some rationale for your answer other than your general experience in the field? Why is transmission this way not a concern? Is there already immunity? Also with all respect mode of transmission is often unclear so though you've treated many people it's not clear to me that would necessarily mean you know precisely how they contracted the disease. I'd really appreciate if you can provide some sort of evidence beyond your own general experience here. It just seems somewhat implausible that trusted websites that focus exclusively on herpes would be giving out patently inaccurate information.

Those are all very good questions.
First of all, you are already taking antiviral medication, you didn't actually get "juice" from the sore on your finger and put it in your eye. Since you are on antivirals I figured you have had your outbreak for some time already. As such it is logical to assume your viral load is decreasing. Also, your own immune system is already ramping up to fight the infection.
In addition, your eyeball has defenses against infection: Barrier function of your conjunctiva and tenons capsule as well as antibodies in your tear film.
Web sites give general information that applies to all and do not take into account all the factors.
If I am wrong, you will have a full blown herpes infection in your eye in the next few days as the web sites predict. I'm pretty sure, however, that you will be OK. Let me know how things turn out.....
I am happy to be able to help you today. If you would be so kind, please help me get credit for my efforts in answering your questions and press the excellent feedback button for this encounter. I would also be happy to continue to answer any more questions you have until we have resolved your concern.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks for your reply. To be clear, the genital outbreak just started 36 hours ago so not sure what that means in terms of viral load.

Once again, I do appreciate your reassurance, but I'd like to take precautions none the less. Would eye wash and/or getting antiviral eyedrops potentially mitigate the chances of infection here?

I still think you are going to be just fine from an ocular point of view. :-)
It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you at no additional charge :-)
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks, I"m not sure if you saw my second paragraph, for some reason there were several line breaks after the first: Once again, I do appreciate your reassurance, but I'd like to take precautions none the less. Would eye wash and/or getting antiviral eyedrops potentially mitigate the chances of infection here?

Oops. Sorry. I did miss that part of your post.
Antiviral eye drops are very powerful and toxic to the eye. I would not use them given your post.
Eye wash won't hurt to use but I do not believe it will decrease your chance of getting an herpetic eye infection.
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11,639
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks. If there are any other precautions I could take please let me know. Otherwise I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Sounds like an excellent plan. Enjoy your weekend.
It was a pleasure to assist you with your question. Please let me know if I can do anything else to help you in the future. Positive Feedback and/or Bonus is welcomed and appreciated.
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Hi,
I was just thinking about your case today. How is your eye doing?
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