|In my continuing obsession with the business around my eye, I made the mistake of looking up Shingles on WebMd:
"People with "optical" shingles (where the virus has invaded an ophthalmic nerve) may suffer painful eye inflammations that leave them temporarily blind or impair their vision. Individuals with this type of shingles should see an ophthalmologist immediately. If shingles appears on the face and affects the auditory nerves, it can also lead to complications in hearing. Infections of facial nerves can lead to temporary paralysis."
--Just missed out on this, which is why I had to keep going back to the eye doctor. Eyebrow spots, OK, but if they had travelled down my nose, I could have had this to look forward to.
"Letterman's case of shingles was particularly troublesome because it involved his eyes, which can be potentially devastating to a patient's vision, Jorizzo says. "If you get involvement with this virus on your cornea, it can actually produce a permanent, vision-affecting scar on the cornea."
But the most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia -- persistent nerve pain that lasts long after the skin lesions heal. "The incidence of postherpetic neuralgia rises dramatically in people over 50," says Jorizzo. "It's probably due to some sort of scar produced by the inflammation caused by all the viral particles coming down the sensory nerve."
It's important to get shingles treated early and aggressively, both to minimize pain in the acute phase and prevent chronic pain. "If you use approved oral antiviral agents like acyclovir in high doses -- as much as five times the dose you use for a fever blister -- for seven days during the acute phase, you can significantly reduce the duration of postherpetic neuralgia," Jorizzo says. Don't put off a trip to the doctor for that painful, itchy rash, either: Studies indicate that it's important to start antiviral therapy within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of any shingles symptoms.
Early intervention with antiviral drugs can also prevent long-term eye damage from shingles, according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology. Mayo Clinic scientists tracked 323 cases of eye shingles in Minnesota between 1976 and 1998; almost 9% of the patients who went without antiviral therapy suffered serious eye conditions within five years of getting eye shingles, while only 2% of those who got antiviral drugs had the complications."
--I'm so glad I went to the doctor when I did. I really lucked out for once. And if I had to get it, I'm glad I got it while I'm still relatively young. Ok that should be the last post on shingles, I almost promise.