Coronavirus

COVID AND YOUR EYES

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Covid-19 leaves long-lasting and debilitating after-effects on the body. Many patients have complained of conjunctivitis-type of symptoms due to Covid-19. Experts have observed ocular complications even after recovery from Covid-19, and extreme eye damage has been seen only in a very small percentage of patients.

The Sars-CoV-2 virus is an air-borne virus and enters the body through the respiratory system – through the nasal passage or mouth, by coming in contact with affected persons or by touching contaminated surfaces. The presence of mucous membranes around the whites of the eyes, and their proximity to the sinuses and the brain make it a vulnerable entry point for the virus.  

Symptoms

Besides other Covid-related symptoms, a patient may also experience the following symptoms, very similar to conjunctivitis:

  • Photophobia
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Pain
  • Mucous discharge

Risk Factors

  • People with severe Covid-19 are observed to develop abnormalities like nodules at the back of their eyes due to inflammation in the blood vessels. Hospitalization, intubation, and lying down in a supine position for long hours over a period of time which inhibits drainage from blood vessels, were seen to be the reason for developing nodules in the eyes. These nodules could lead to eye damage and even blindness.
  • Pre-existence of co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration exacerbate eye trauma and damage during Covid-19.

Protect your Eyes

  • Practice all hygiene and social distancing norms, like wearing a mask, washing hands, staying at home, and staying at a safe distance of 6 feet from others when outdoors.
  • Avoid touching the eyes with unclean hands.
  • Those who wear contact lenses must sterilize them and touch them with clean hands.
  • People who wear contact lenses and get Covid-19, and show signs of conjunctivitis-like symptoms, must avoid wearing them until all the symptoms of the virus have subsided.

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