Eye Herpes Made Mel B Feel 'Blind.' Here's What You Need to Know About Herpes Keratitis
Scary Spice just had a frightening health scare. Melanie Brown (Mel B) of the Spice Girls has recovered after being temporarily blinded from a herpes outbreak in her eye, according to People. The singer, 43, was hospitalized on Friday after she temporarily lost sight in her right eye.
“She’s doing fine now, she’s not blind,” a source told People. “This has happened before. She has herpes in her eye, so this can happen.”
“She told the doctor she was blind because she couldn’t see but her eye is OK,” the source added. “They gave her some drops and she’s good now. It was nothing major.”
How does someone get herpes in their eye, anyway? Eye herpes, or herpes keratitis, is an actual infection, Health previously reported. It's caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is the same virus responsible for cold sores and genital herpes.
Once someone becomes infected with HSV—which typically happens through skin-to-skin contact with another person who has active lesions from the virus—it can lie dormant for years, reactivating at any time. Stress, fever, sun exposure, menstruation, and certain medications have all been linked to a herpes keratitis flare-up, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Symptoms of an eye herpes infection include eye redness, eye pain, tearing, sensitivity to light, headache, and reduced vision linked to eye pain or eye redness. In Mel B's case, she was right to be worried. An eye herpes flare-up can scar the cornea, which can lead to vision loss or blindness.
Most mild herpes keratitis flare-ups can be treated with antiviral medication. The AAO recommends avoiding touching your eyes if you have a cold sore (so you don't transmit oral herpes to your eye accidentally) and to stop wearing contact lenses if you get repeat infections.
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