Mel B went blind from herpes as she was training for Spice Girls reunion tour

I saw this headline and thought “you can go blind from herpes?” That’s absolutely crazy. Also, the google suggestions for things people search after “can you go blind from?” are what you might expect. Herpes is not one of the suggestions. You can definitely get herpes in your eye I’m really sorry to say, and it’s the HSV-1 virus that causes cold sores and which 50-90% of people are estimated to have. Here’s a description of how that happens, from The Atlantic:

In some cases, HSV-1 can run through that bundles of nerves in the face and erupt in the eye. Or maybe it gets into the eye from the outside. No one is really sure. In any case, HSV-1 can definitely infect the eye. (In case you’re wondering: HSV-1 can also cause genital infections, though it’s herpes simplex virus type 2 that is more commonly associated with genital herpes.)

Herpes in the eye is as bad as it sounds. The virus infects the cornea, forming tree-like branching ulcers across the eye. It can cause irritation, pain, sensitivity to light, and ultimately blindness if untreated. Herpes in the eye is a leading cause of blindness in the world.

[From The Atlantic]

Holy crap I never knew that! The treatment for this is “antiviral drugs like Zovirax, but the herpes viruses are becoming increasingly resistant to these drugs.” The good news is that there’s a promising new treatment that can clear this in animals, but it’s far from clinical trials.

Anyway Mel B had this issue when she was training for the Spice World tour (sans Posh) which kicks off at the end of the week in Dublin. She went blind in one eye but got the treatment and is said to be fine now.

Melanie “Mel B” Brown’s vision has been restored after she was temporarily blinded last week.

According to U.K. outlet The Sun, [Mel] went to the hospital on Friday, complaining of being blinded in her right eye. (Her left was permanently damaged following a laser eye surgery gone wrong in the ’90s.)

After her vision returned, the singer reportedly left the hospital and returned to rehearsals for the upcoming Spice Girls tour.

“She’s doing fine now, she’s not blind,” a source tells PEOPLE. “This has happened before. She has herpes in her eye, so this can happen.”

“She told the doctor she was blind because she couldn’t see but her eye is OK,” the source says. “They gave her some drops and she’s good now. It was nothing major.”

[From People]

The good news is that the rehearsals for the tour are said to have gone well and Mel is fine now. As the article mentioned you can get recurrent herpes eye infections just like cold sores! Ahhh. The next time I get a cold sore I’m just going to be grateful as hell it’s not in my goddamn eye.

Despite the story that this has happened to her before, Mel says it hasn’t and she wasn’t ok! She wrote on Instagram that she had inflammation in both eyes. She didn’t deny that it was caused by herpes, but she said it’s new for her. She’s going to have to wear an eye patch for a while. It does sound like she’s better from the treatment and will be able to tour as planned.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you so much for all the lovely support and messages I’ve had about my eye. Just so you know the real truth. I had an awful experience last week when I went blind in my right eye and my left eye went blurry. Even though the stupid press said I’m ok and this has happened to me many times before, just to be clear I was NOT ok and this has NEVER EVER happened to me before,so who every is selling this story “a close reliable source” is full of BS and needs to get there silly facts right big time,I was actually in a lot of pain and very very scared but thanks to the incredible eye specialists in A&E at London’s Moorfields Hospital and after at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital I was diagnosed by and eye specialist with severe IRITIS in my right eye and UVEITIS in my left eye.I’m taking multiple prescription heavy duty eye drops and other medication the dr gave me that I have to take every day to keep the inflammation under control,Also I’m being so well looked after by Team Spice special thanks to our paramedics too!!im still dealing with it and will be fir the next 3/4 months to fully get it under control but I’m no longer worried that my condition will get worse. My only problem now is I have to find a very cool Scary eye patch. Does anyone – apart from Madonna – know where I can get one ?? #eyepatch Pls #takingcareofme thank you #nhs 🇬🇧

A post shared by Scary Spice Mel b (@officialmelb) on


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39 Responses to “Mel B went blind from herpes as she was training for Spice Girls reunion tour”

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  1. smee says:

    I can’t imagine trying to rehearse dance moves wearing an eye patch (no depth perception)…

  2. dota says:

    I’ve heard some crazy excuses from drug addicts as to why they were not on a bender but instead X happened, but damn, herpes blindness is a new one.

    • Holly says:

      Wow, harsh much?

    • Jaded says:

      She’s not a drug addict. Please don’t spread malicious gossip. She was genuinely, seriously ill and had the balls to admit it.

    • guilty pleasures says:

      @ dota, that seems like a mean retort. This seems like a thing that could happen to ANYONE!! I prefer to think the best of someone and wish them well.
      I hope you just wrote something that we are misconstruing, and you actually have compassion for people. 😀

  3. Lala11_7 says:


  4. Reece says:

    This is exactly why I WILL NOT drink after anybody, share food or anything.
    My mom used to get mad and “I’m your mother!” me about that and my answer was always “So!”

    • Valerie says:

      I went to dinner with my parents on the weekend. Both wanted to try my wine. They each took a sip from opposite sides of the glass and I was ready to ask for a new one! I’m an admitted germophobe, so I thought I was just overreacting lol.

    • SKF says:

      You cannot catch herpes like that. It requires skin-to-skin contact. The virus enters your body through mucous membranes — the type of skin found in your mouth, genitals or anus. You cannot catch herpes from toilet seats, or from sharing drinks and meals. Herpes is spread by touching, kissing, and sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

  5. Harryg says:

    Just OMG.

  6. JustSayin' says:

    Sorry, but this is a new low for you, CB.

    “She hasn’t denied it so…”. So it’s ok to claim someone has herpes because they haven’t denied it?? Just nasty.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      50 to 90 % of us have HSV 1. And I think 1 in 4 have HSV 2. You probably have herpes too or at least are a carrier. Stop acting like it’s so shameful. I have a close friend who has genital herpes and don’t appreciate the stigma being perpetuated by comments like yours. Grow up.

      • Amanduh says:

        Thank you ChillyWilly!! I can deal with the occasional flare-up, but the stigma has been even worse.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        I understand Amanduh. My friend was devastated when she was diagnosed but we did research on the subject and she has decided it is not the end of the world and just an occasional nuisance during flare ups. She is dating a guy who does not have it and is mature and intelligent enough to know that she is worth the minimal risk. They are as safe as possible and it is harder for a woman to pass genital hsv to a man.
        CB, your article was fine and by being brave enough to discuss it as any other virus and not a dirty secret definitely helps to break the stigma!

      • otaku fairy... says:

        True. Still, I don’t think it’s stigmatizing to be concerned about people running to the press about other people’s private medical information without their permission. Unless it’s something the person has already been upfront about (which might apply for Mel B? I’m not sure). That doesn’t just apply to someone having herpes, but other medical issues like miscarriage. It’s not shameful and it doesn’t mean there’s something bad about the person who has one, but it’s something that people should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want it known to everyone.

      • nb says:

        I take L-Lysine a few times a week and it has kept cold sores away for the last 6 years. I went from getting them every few months to only have one very small one since I started taking Lysine. Anyone who gets them should try it (after checking with your doctor, of course).

      • Andrea says:

        I have several dear friends who have genital herpes. One dear friend his girlfriend of 5 months gave it to him!! Personally though, I’d prefer my partner to not have it given I already have a chronic condition, I don’t want another. It scares me that so many of my friends have it these days because there is a stigma still and especially for my male friend who has it, it was particularly difficult for him to date.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Yeah that’s exactly what I meant as I said I have the exact same thing. I didn’t even say she had it, I just reported what she said.

    • Jaded says:

      CB’s done nothing wrong other than report what Mel B said. I get regular cold sores on my bottom lip which means….HERPES!

    • Ange says:

      It’s not like it’s a big deal, so she gets cold sores so what. I’ve never seen anywhere but America have such a pearl clutchy reaction to the cold sore virus. You can get it from sharing drinks or kissing a friend for gods sake, it’s not a dirty sinful disease so calm your farm.

  7. ChillyWilly says:

    Oh wow, that sounds painful and scary. I have heard of ocular herpes but I thought the blindness was permanent. Glad she will be ok.
    I know that women with genital herpes can pass the heroes virus to their babies during delivery which can cause blindness.

  8. Hotsauceinmybag says:

    OMG this is terrifying. I have been wearing contacts since age 12, and for a while I was not good at taking care of my eye health. When I was 17 I got a corneal ulcer and it was terrifying! I came so close to having a blind spot in my pupil, but miraculously the ulcer did not grow and spread from it’s spot of origin. I made a 180 with my eye and sanitary health but stuff like this terrifies me!

    • MsIam says:

      Wow @hotsauce, the same thing happened to me in college! I got the mother of all eye infections and an ulcer from being lazy in taking care of my contacts. You’re right, it is a terrifying feeling to have something wrong with your eyesight and I’m glad you and Mel B are ok!

      • Hotsauceinmybag says:

        I am glad you’re okay too!

        Also LMAO at this from the source “She told the doctor she was blind because she couldn’t see but her eye is OK,” the source says. “They gave her some drops and she’s good now. It was nothing major.”

        “She told the doctor she was blind because she couldn’t see… Nothing major.” Being blind, even if temporary is MAJOR. Sheesh. Hope Mel B heals up quickly – whatever it is she has going on – and doesn’t have any long term effects from it.

  9. JRenee says:

    Why is someone unauthorized to do such, sharing thos medical information? This is a gross invasion of privacy.

  10. Guest says:


  11. HELEN says:

    she should do the tour with the eyepatch! 😎

  12. DiegoInSF says:

    Anything that goes wrong with your eyes is terrifying. I started developing very minor floaters (those transparent specks that look like worms when you look at something white or the sky) and I was freaking out, went to an eye doctor and she said you’r eyes are in great health, floaters are normal, it’s just getting older, I’m only 28! Can’t imagine going blind even if temporarily, must have been terrifying!

    • susiecue says:

      Same here! I’m 33 and have been noticing it the last few months. When I brought it up to my eye doctor, I was wincing waiting for him to reply with grave concern and refer me to a specialist or fit me for a glass eye. He was just like, “yeap.” LOL

    • Mel M says:

      I’m near sighted and have been wearing glasses since second grade. I’ve had floaters for as long as I can remember but got really bad when I was pregnant with my first. I went to the eye doctor and they discovered a Hemorrhage in my left retina and another spot in my right eye. It’s was terrifying but both ended up going away without incident. It’s been 7 years a and the floaters have gotten worse and really bother me something. I have to blink sometimes to move them out of the way too.

    • Amelie says:

      Ugh floaters! I’ve had them forever, since I was a toddler. I only had one at first for a very long time, until maybe high school-college. Then I started to get more in my twenties and now I have so many! I know if you all of a sudden notice a lot of new floaters out of nowhere it can be a sign of a retinal detachment so it’s definitely important to get checked out. But mine have developed over the course of many years and I go every year to get my eyes checked. But they can be such a nuisance especially when you’re skiing! All that white snow makes them stand out so much.

  13. JanetFerber says:

    Oh crap is right. I’m glad she got it diagnosed and treated promptly. That’s why good medical care should be mandatory (if people can’t afford it). Imagine getting that or your kid getting that and not being able to afford treatment so becoming permanently blind? I’m sure that happens in this country. That’s why it’s so wise of trump to get rid of Obamacare so we can have more blind poor people (or something).

  14. LondonLozza says:

    A few years ago I permanently lost the eyesight in my right eye – I got a virus and boom no more central vision (I will loose all sight in it eventually and no amount of asking is apparently going to get me a Terminator style eye!!).

    The first question the eye hospital always ask and the first set of tests they run are for herpes … as it’s a leading cause for loss of sight – Who knew?! – I was very indignant to say the least!!!

  15. Selena says:

    Well, for starters if she had herpes she would not be wearing an eye patch. You don’t do that with the herpes virus because it likes dark and moist to spread. Secondly it is not necessary to have cold sores or any other type of herpes to get herpes in your eye. How do I know? I had it. I had to have a corneal transplant from the damage it caused. My GP had been treating my eye for conjunctivitis for two weeks. Then I found out that I had herpes when I dived into a pool and I thought I had dived into broken glass for some reason (like glass could be floating on top of the water! but that is what went through my mind). I was totally blind in my left eye. I went to the hospital and they told me. I went through hell for three years of treatment, including my cornea perforating. Then, when I had been infection free for one year, I could have a transplant. I have never had a cold sore, no genital herpes, nothing. But I did have chicken pox as a kid. Interesting after the eye thing I got shingles twice.

  16. Margaret says:

    I’ve had a bout of ocular herpes as well. My mom gave me H1 herpes as a teen and then 20 years later it resulted in an eye infection. I went to quick care who treated it as a case of pink eye. Thank God I decided to go to the optometrist when it didn’t clear up after a couple weeks. They were able to make the proper diagnosis and had me come in every other day for a month. It’s very serious and I’m soooo lucky that I was able to get it treated in time. Lots of people aren’t so lucky. I’m also very lucky that my optometrist didn’t charge me beyond that initial visit. They realized how serious the situation was and how paying for multiple visits every week just wasn’t in the cards.

  17. tback says:

    Shingles, which is a form of herpes (herpes zoster) that can develop in people who have had chickenpox, can develop on the eye (herpes zoster ophthalmicus).

  18. Who is Justice Beaver? says:

    Lysine!! I discovered the amino acid lysine and never needed valtrex, etc. again to help fight my occasional cold sores.