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Zirgan is prescribed treat symptoms of acute herpetic keratitis in the eye for adults aged 18 years and over, coming from infection by the HSV virus.

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Virgan Eye Gel Brand 0.15%
5 Grams
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Zirgan / Virgan (generic name: ganciclovir) is an eye gel used to treat an infection in the eye called acute herpetic keratitis.  Ganciclovir is one of the anti-virals used to treat infections caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Acute herpetic keratitis is typically caused by an infection by a type I HSV,  the most common form of the virus. It primarily infects the lower face, causing cold sores (fever blisters.) Type II HSV is the sexually transmitted form of herpes, infecting the genitals. Type I is by far the most frequent cause of eye infections, which can be transferred to the eye by touching an active lesion and then touching the eye. Transfer of Type II to the eye is less frequent. Ganciclovir can be prescribed for adults aged 18 years and over.


The gel must be used as prescribed. The usual dose is one drop of gel in each infected eye five times per day until it has healed and then three times per day for 7 days. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose. If the symptoms have not cleared up within three weeks, refer to a doctor. Follow the instructions for administering a dose on the Product leaflet.


Zirgan gel must be used within 28 days of opening the tube for the first dose. Do not use the gel after the expiry date printed on the box. Please read our advice on storing and disposing of medicine safely.


Does HSV infection go away on its own? No. Once the herpes virus is in a person’s body, it is there for life, although it is not always active. If a person has ever had an attack of herpetic keratitis, it is a signal that HSV infected them at some point. It is possible that they did not have any symptoms when they were infected. How long does acute herpetic keratitis last? The ideal is to bring the infection under control within 24 to 48 hours, otherwise the virus can penetrate deep into the cornea and cause irreperable damage, in some cases even leading to blindness. Under treatment, the swelling phase that involves the outer layer of the eye (surface epithelium) may take several days to subside. In a very severe infection it can even take several weeks of treatment. If there is any scarring of the cornea, it may take months to become evident. What are the symptoms of HSV eye infection? The main symptoms of an infection by herpes simplex virus eye infections are eye pain, red and swollen eyelids, blisters or a rash on the eyelid or on the skin around the eyes, constant tear flow, sensitivity to light, or blurred vision or other changes to your eyesight.

This text is for informational purposes only. Please consult a doctor or pharmacist before using any medication. 

Read the information leaflet that comes with the medication.

Most people who use Zirgan do not experience any negative side effects. Doctors prescribe Zirgan because they assess that the benefits that such treatment yields outweigh any likely unwanted effects.

Some of the side effects that have been reported include burning or brief tingling sensations immediately after administration of a dose, eye irritation, or blurred vision. There can also be a sense of grittiness and some aggravation of the existing symptoms.

Not all side effects are listed here. If these or other unlisted symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare provider or pharmacist.

An infection by herpes simplex virus can produce many of the following signs:

  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Red eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes to visual acuity
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Blisters or a rash on the eyelid or on the skin around surrounding the eye.
  • Can HSV infection clear up by itself?
    No - once the herpes virus enters a persons body it remains there for life although it may not always be active. If someone has experienced an episode of keratitis it indicates that they were infected with HSV at some point. It is possible that they did not display any symptoms during the infection.
  • How long does acute keratitis typically last?
    Ideally the goal is to control the infection within 24 to 48 hours; otherwise the virus can penetrate deeply into the cornea and potentially cause irreversible damage sometimes leading to blindness. During treatment the swelling phase affecting the layer of the eye (surface epithelium) may take several days to resolve. In cases treatment might extend over several weeks. If there is any scarring on the cornea it could become apparent over a span of months.
  • What are the signs of an HSV eye infection?
    The primary indicators of a herpes simplex virus eye infection include eye discomfort, red and swollen eyelids, blisters or a rash on either eyelid or around the eyes skin area constant tearing, sensitivity to light well as blurred vision or other alterations, in eyesight.

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