Shingles on face and in eye

Posted by Nancy B @nancyb1, Oct 9, 2011

Hi everybody. I have had shingles for about three weeks now and I am interested in chatting with folks who have experienced this. I have it on my forehead, in my hair toward my temple, in my eyebrow and on my eyelid, and in my eye. I have no vision problems, but my eye hurts and my eyelid droops.

The pain is bad when I talk, because when I get interested in a conversation, my eyebrow moves, my forehead moves, and ZING! I have burning and shooting pains. My hair hurts, too, and I can’t pull it back or style it.

Anyone else want to talk about their shingles pain?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Skin Health group.

I was diagnosed with shingles last July. I was 49. Prior to my diagnosis, I was having pain in my left ear and numbness and spasms along my jawline for about 3 weeks. I was also having headaches and felt queasy. I thought I had a sinus infection and went to a walk-in clinic and was told it was probably a dental problem and was given an antibiotic and told to see my dentist, which I did. He did not see anything wrong and sent me to the endodontist who did my root canal several months earlier, who also saw nothing wrong. I started to get tingling on my head on the left side about 3 weeks later and a rash appeared on the left side of my face and moved pretty quickly across my left forehead and into my eye. I was on an antiviral and also a gel for my eye for ten days. I was having stabbing pain behind my eye and on the left side of my head. It hurt to touch even one strand of my hair. This was the worse pain I ever had in my life. Pain meds really did not help. I did get some relief by putting ice packs on my head. I had the head pain for about 5 weeks and it got less intense after about the first week to ten days. I have still been having the burning pain in my ear and started having numbness along my jaw again and went to see an ear, nose and throat doctor 3 months ago.He put me on prednisone for ten days. It only helped a little. The doctor said that when I had shingles it was probably in my ear, too and I should have been on steroids along with the other meds I had been given at the time. I am also having some slight burning pain in my left eyelid. I also have some numbness along the left side of my tongue which affects my speech sometimes – Has anyone else experienced this? I am finding that this has been very frustrating for me and can’t seem to find the right medication to ease my symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia. From what I have read about shingles, if you have pain before the rash, you are more likely to have complications with PHN afterwards.

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@alexandramarie

I also have shingles of the eye, face. and eye. Sure didn’t know pain like this existed! Vicodin doesn’t help; wondering what drs. would do if I went to the ER. Would they treat me as a hypochondriac or a drug-seeker! I’m so hesitant to seek additional help but the pain is debilitating, and I don’t know what to do. Thanks

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Hi Alexandra,
If you have not seen a doctor, go to the ER. You need antiviral meds started right away. If you did see a doc and are on the antivirals, and the pain is too much, I would think about going to a walk-in clinic or ER. Call ahead and find out how busy they are. Plus, if you still have the blisters out, you are contagious and can give the chicken pox to unvaccinated folks, so they need to know you are coming so they can isolate you. I was given Dilaudid when I was hospitalized. I needed IV anti-nausea meds to keep the antivirals down, then to keep the Dilaudid down. Having shingles in your eye can lead to blindness, so be sure you are getting the right treatment. I don’t think they will see you as drug seeking, especially if you still have the blisters. They all know how painful it is. I had lightening bolts of pain in my right eye, in my head, and my hair hurt to touch. I needed drugs just to lay my head down. If I had been discharged from the hospital a day earlier than I was, I would probably have had my head shaved, it hurt so much to move my hair!
Nancy

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@jmney

I was diagnosed with shingles last July. I was 49. Prior to my diagnosis, I was having pain in my left ear and numbness and spasms along my jawline for about 3 weeks. I was also having headaches and felt queasy. I thought I had a sinus infection and went to a walk-in clinic and was told it was probably a dental problem and was given an antibiotic and told to see my dentist, which I did. He did not see anything wrong and sent me to the endodontist who did my root canal several months earlier, who also saw nothing wrong. I started to get tingling on my head on the left side about 3 weeks later and a rash appeared on the left side of my face and moved pretty quickly across my left forehead and into my eye. I was on an antiviral and also a gel for my eye for ten days. I was having stabbing pain behind my eye and on the left side of my head. It hurt to touch even one strand of my hair. This was the worse pain I ever had in my life. Pain meds really did not help. I did get some relief by putting ice packs on my head. I had the head pain for about 5 weeks and it got less intense after about the first week to ten days. I have still been having the burning pain in my ear and started having numbness along my jaw again and went to see an ear, nose and throat doctor 3 months ago.He put me on prednisone for ten days. It only helped a little. The doctor said that when I had shingles it was probably in my ear, too and I should have been on steroids along with the other meds I had been given at the time. I am also having some slight burning pain in my left eyelid. I also have some numbness along the left side of my tongue which affects my speech sometimes – Has anyone else experienced this? I am finding that this has been very frustrating for me and can’t seem to find the right medication to ease my symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia. From what I have read about shingles, if you have pain before the rash, you are more likely to have complications with PHN afterwards.

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Interesting. I did not know that about early pain being a indication that you are more likely to have post-herpetic pain. I had a headache for five days before the rash. I saw the doc and she treated me for sinus infection and migraine. I do remember not being able to smile or express myself through facial gestures. If my eyebrow moved, it was very painful. I think I just hung out on my computer and tried not to talk much when I was in the hospital.

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Perhaps I missed this suggestion in the comments. You should have a trial of a medication specifically meant for neuropathic pain. The two most commonly used are Neurontin ( gabapentin, available as a generic) and Lyrica (Pregabilin, brand only). These will treat the nerve pain symptomatically. It takes many months for improvement since the nerve involved ( trigeminal) is damaged by the infection. Improvement may or may not be complete with time.

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@peace

I had it on my face and on my back and saw a very experienced acupuncturist in Denver who did two treatments and it was GONE! It has never returned. I hope you take good care of yourself and seek treatment right away.

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How does an acupuncturist help?

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@googoogirl

Hi Nancy

My name is Jennifer.

In November 2010 I had a double bone fusion of the L5, S1 with a removal of the L5 disk. About a month later I developed a small purple rash on my buttocks of all places but it was right at the end of the root tip from my incision. I called my family doctor and he put me on Fanviar which is treated for herpes virus and on top of the pain mess and this I was able to recover.

The pain was in my back and into my bottom and legs, which caused sitting a painful task.
I’m better now, I may have a small scar from it but honestly I lucked out that it didn’t spread to my face and-or other parts of my body.

Good luck to you and I hope you get well soib.

Jen

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Jen, I am writing because my most recent EMG showed a real problem at L5>S1. What does that mean? Thanks i am looking forward to your reply. Ric

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@googoogirl

Hi Nancy

My name is Jennifer.

In November 2010 I had a double bone fusion of the L5, S1 with a removal of the L5 disk. About a month later I developed a small purple rash on my buttocks of all places but it was right at the end of the root tip from my incision. I called my family doctor and he put me on Fanviar which is treated for herpes virus and on top of the pain mess and this I was able to recover.

The pain was in my back and into my bottom and legs, which caused sitting a painful task.
I’m better now, I may have a small scar from it but honestly I lucked out that it didn’t spread to my face and-or other parts of my body.

Good luck to you and I hope you get well soib.

Jen

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It could be a lot of things but I think the EMG is a nerve test. I have degeneration in the disk and had the L5 removed because it was crumbled. Have they talked about doing surgery? I had a “T” lift done and they went through the back. My doctor was going to do a “P”lift but that would have meant going through the front and a Cardiovascular surgeon would of had to be there and it was too much for me so I chose to go through the back.
I don’t know if that helped but I would definitely look for a good repertable Neurosurgeon to do it. Its a very labor intensive and intricate procedure. I wish you the best of luck.

Jen

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I developed shingles at my hairline and my eyelid about a week or so after surgery more than 3 years ago. My surgeon had no idea what it was and I finally went to my eye doctor who knew immediately when he walked into the room. I still have problems today. Not a constant pain but an almost electrical shock feeling through my forehead and eye area sometimes. Also when I brush my hair near my forehead. Any time I have a procedure, I have to begin taking anti viral drugs a few days prior and afterwards. Have not yet received the shingles vaccine but I will. Oh, and I have scars on my forehead and right around my eyebrow.

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I know this discussion is old but I’m experiencing this through my 61 year old boy friend. He had shingles on the right side of his head and eye. It’s been a month. After we went on vacation, leaving our business causing stress, he came down with tenderness on his head. It excelled to the blisters and so on. He went to a clinic and they told him it was shingles and there was nothing they could do. Most of the spots have healed but his eye is still bloodshot. He can’t sleep and is exhausted. I see from the responses that so much medication was given and he was given none. He is just taking over-the-counter pain killers that don’t help alot. This person who hasn’t gotten sick for most of his life now doesn’t want to wake up if he finally falls asleep. He is a golfer and every time he goes out in the sun, it reactivates the shingles. I’m not sure what issue to force. Do I push him back to the clinic that didn’t do much (he’s been twice) for medication or do I push him to our dermatologist and get a new opinion. Both of us were red heads and both of us have had skin cancer. Does anyone have any suggestions on which way to go?

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@ndt

I know this discussion is old but I’m experiencing this through my 61 year old boy friend. He had shingles on the right side of his head and eye. It’s been a month. After we went on vacation, leaving our business causing stress, he came down with tenderness on his head. It excelled to the blisters and so on. He went to a clinic and they told him it was shingles and there was nothing they could do. Most of the spots have healed but his eye is still bloodshot. He can’t sleep and is exhausted. I see from the responses that so much medication was given and he was given none. He is just taking over-the-counter pain killers that don’t help alot. This person who hasn’t gotten sick for most of his life now doesn’t want to wake up if he finally falls asleep. He is a golfer and every time he goes out in the sun, it reactivates the shingles. I’m not sure what issue to force. Do I push him back to the clinic that didn’t do much (he’s been twice) for medication or do I push him to our dermatologist and get a new opinion. Both of us were red heads and both of us have had skin cancer. Does anyone have any suggestions on which way to go?

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I have not been back on this blog in awhile, so I am assuming you wrote this a few weeks ago.(2013) If your boyfriend has not gone back to the doctor, he should go ASAP. Don’t go back to the clinic you went to. Go to the ER if there is no other clinic to go to. There is a specific antiviral medication that he needs to be on. Also, if it gets in his eye, he could go blind. I had shingles two years ago on my head, face and in my eye. (see my entry on May 19, 2012). I am still having problems with pain and numbness.

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Hi:
Yesterday I was diagnosed with herpies of the face. Sores that are not too itchy or painful mostly on my forehead. Swelling around my eyes that don't affect my vission. I was prescribed an anti viral medication. I was surprised after further investigation that it could take a few week before I see any relief. I am 88 year old and have a laundry list of other health problems and I really don't need more problems. Good luck with your health !

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About 7 years ago, I was at work. I got a little bit of a headache over my left brow and I had a hard time focusing. When I put on my glasses, it was better. I figured it was sinus pain from allergies.
The next day, when I was driving to work, I found that I was having a difficult time focusing my eyes. When I got to work, I went to the bathroom and noticed my left eye was turning in. Even putting on my glasses didn't help. I got an emergency appointment with my eye doctor. He said he thought I had shingles and should see my PCP immediately. As it so happened, my hubby and I already had an appointment because we were getting our shingles shot.
My doctor looked and looked and saw nothing. She asked if I had any unusual rashes on my body. The only thing I knew of were these couple of pimples I had behind my right ear. It looked NOTHING like Shingles and it didn't hurt. The doctor took a culture, so all I could do was wait.
After a few days my eye did not get any better so I was sent for a brain scan to make sure nothing was going on to cause such a symptom. It came back fine. The next step was to go to a well known eye clinic in a major hospital. They checked the brain scan and took tons of tests and the found nothing. I was diagnosed with a Sixth Nerve Palsy in my eye. They said it should go away in a few weeks. In the meanwhile, I remained home from work until the results from the culture. I worked around many young women who were pregnant.
It took time, but the culture came back positive for Shingles. It seems that the Shingles virus, NOT the rash, went into my eye and hit the optic nerve causing the palsy. I was happy the rash did not get into my eye, too. That, my friends, would have been VERY painful. As the doctors at the eye clinic said, it took several weeks for my eye to straighten out and I had to wear an eye patch until it did.
As for permanent damage…it did have an impact in my peripheral vision. Unless I turn my head, I cannot see out of the corner of my eye. When I turn my head to look, I have to close one eye or I get double vision. When I need to focus on a spot on my face, like plucking my eyebrows, I also have to close one eye. It is all second nature to me now. My eye is as good as it is going to get. I was told the palsy could come back, but so far so good/

Best to you!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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