An Experience with Shingles
Years ago, I had the Zostavax vaccination to protect myself from shingles. Later, my
PCP advised that I get the newer, more effective Shingrix vaccination (a series of 2
shots). Like many others, I was too busy to get the vaccine right away; then I forgot
about it. Being too busy and forgetting can be a costly mistake!
In January of 2020, I got shingles! My case did not appear very severe. The location
was a bit unusual as it affected the upper left side of my face and head. I had only a
few lesions, but that area felt like I had received a novocaine shot and sometimes it felt
The medical personnel I saw we somewhat concerned that it might affect my eye, so
they sent me to see my ophthalmologist. I was treated with medications intended to
help ward off infections to my eye. But, even so, about a month after I thought that the
shingles were gone, I started having trouble with the vision in my left eye. The
symptoms were appear to clear up, but then return after a short time without any
treatment. Finally in July, I was sent to a specialist.
I have learned that the shingles virus is very persistent. I have been treating it for nearly
3 years with daily eyedrops and an oral medication. The drop used to prevent the
spread of the virus is prednisolone, which can cause the eye pressure to increase
(possibly leading to glaucoma). So I use 2 additional eyedrops to lower the eye
pressure. My specialist has indicated that I will most likely need to continue using
eyedrops for the rest of my life. In addition to the medications, my eye is carefully
monitored by specialists, with appointments about every 6 weeks.
I am grateful that there is a treatment and that I will probably be able to keep from going
blind in that left eye, but, I often wish I had taken the time to get the Shingrix vaccine.
By the way, my PCP advised me to get the Shingrix shot about 6 months after my case
of the shingles. It is good to remember that shingles can affect a person more than
once and it is best to be as protected as possible.