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Are viral eye infections serious?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Viral eye infections are the most common type of eye infection, but how serious a viral eye infection is depends on the virus and what part of the eye it affects. Conjunctivitis causes nothing more than irritation and possibly blurry vision. Infections related to herpes-simplex viruses, on the other hand, can have significant long-term outcomes, with some cases even resulting in blindness or detachment of the retina.

A physical examination of the eye is often all that's needed to diagnose viral eye infections. An instrument called a slit lamp that shines light into the eye may be used to assist the examination. Blood and urine tests may also help determine the type of infection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.