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Consumer Reports

Antiviral pills may prevent blindness | (UPI) -- Researchers have found antiviral pills can help prevent blindness and vision problems in patients with eye shingles.

The scientists at the Mayo Clinic said that left untreated, 10 percent of patients suffer a serious long-term consequence, including severe visual loss, eyelid scarring or chronic in-turning of the eyelashes.

With treatment, however, those problems crop up in a mere 2 percent of patients.

The study refutes the findings of a previous British study of oral antivirals in patients with eye shingles.

"This is the first time it's been documented that within the eye, the chance of something really bad happening is greatly reduced by administering oral antivirals," said Dr. Keith Baratz, an ophthalmologist and author of the study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

The previous study by researchers at Moorfield's Eye Hospital in London found costly oral antivirals did not significantly affect how patients with herpes zoster opthalmicus fare in the long run.

The Mayo Clinic researchers took issue with the study, saying it was not well conducted.

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