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Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is associated with a variety of ocular diseases, including epithelial and stromal keratitis. HSV can cause stromal opacification and is believed to be the leading cause of infectious blindness in the developed world. An improved understanding of the global burden of HSV keratitis, including the incidence of severe vision loss, could have a significant effect on prevention and treatment and place it in perspective among causes of corneal ulceration. We found that the global incidence of HSV keratitis is roughly 1.5 million, including 40,000 new cases of severe monocular visual impairment or blindness each year. We also discuss relevant epidemiologic issues regarding HSV epithelial and stromal disease.