Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a rare neurological disorder. It affects nerves in the face, causing facial paralysis and pain. How can Ramsay Hunt syndrome affect your eyes? What is the best way to protect yourself? That's what we'll find out in this article.
What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a rare condition affecting the nerves around your ear, leading to facial paralysis. Some people find that they have difficulty chewing or speaking. This condition can also cause a rash and blisters on your ears, face or neck.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome can also affect your vision.
What are the effects of Ramsay Hunt syndrome on your eyes?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause pain in your ears and eyes. The effects on vision are variable. They include:
- Excessive tearing or dry eyes
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Development difficulties
- Partial or total blindness
A person with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome may also have difficulty closing their eyes completely.
What causes Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. This virus can reactivate in adults and cause the disease.
People with a weakened immune system are more likely to contract this disease. Other risk factors include age, stress level (which affects the immune system), and exposure to certain chemicals.
Is Ramsay Hunt syndrome reversible?
Reversibility depends on several parameters, such as the severity of Ramsay Hunt syndrome and the speed with which it is treated. In some cases, the syndrome can cause irreversible damage.
For this reason, early diagnosis will provide a better chance of a complete cure. It is important to seek professional medical help early if you think you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
If the symptoms are only in the eyes, do not hesitate to make an appointment for an eye exam. If your vision is impaired or you feel pain in your eyes, don't wait to see a specialist. Our optometrists can tell you if there are any underlying problems after examining your eyes.
What are the treatments for Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
Treatments always depend on the diagnosis of healthcare professionals. They may involve medication, rehabilitation and, more rarely, surgery.
Medications may include:
- Antiviral medications to help reduce the duration and severity of symptoms
- Corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation and swelling
- Analgesics to help relieve pain
Rehabilitation, when started early, has good results. It helps reduce the risk of permanent muscle damage. Surgery is performed only in severe cases that significantly affect the face, ears, inner ear, and facial nerves.
How can you protect your eyes from Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
The best way to protect yourself from Ramsay Hunt syndrome is to reduce your risk of getting shingles in the first place. Vaccination against the varicella-zoster virus is recommended for everyone 60 years and older. For people at higher risk of complications, vaccination may be recommended starting at age 50.
Cultivating a healthy lifestyle can also help your immune system stay strong. A balanced diet, regular physical activity and adequate sleep can help you avoid certain diseases.