Cause of COVID-19 is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Patients with COVID-19 may experience a wide range of symptoms, which is expanding as more is learned about the condition. Pink eye, also known as infective conjunctivitis, is not a typical sign of SARS-CoV-2 infection, can occur.
According to Trusted Source, the researchers found conjunctivitis symptoms in about 23% of the 216 children with COVID-19. In contrast, pink eye seems to afflict only 1-3 percent of adults, according to a study, making it seem less familiar in adults. This would imply that pink eye, though a rare symptom, is more frequent in kids with COVID-19.
Along with pink eye, COVID-19 can also result in many visual issues, such as vision loss and eye pain.
The potential connections between COVID-19 and eye problems will be examined in this essay. We also consider how people can protect their vision.
Ophthalmological symptoms have been linked to COVID-19:
In those with COVID-19, the prevalence of ophthalmological symptoms that impact the eyes may be as high as 2-32 percent, according to a 2021 paper. Pink eye, though it seems to be one of the more frequent ophthalmological symptoms and can affect up to 3% of people, is nevertheless unusual. According to studies, those who have severe COVID-19 cases are also more likely to experience it.
Many symptoms can be caused by pink eye, including:
- A reddish or pinkish tone in the eye’s white
- Stinging inflammation or burning
- Puffiness of the eyes
- Creasing of the eyelids or lashes
- A feeling that something foreign is in your field of vision
Along with the conjunctiva, the optic nerve, retina, pupil, and lacrimal gland may also exhibit symptoms in some individuals. The following eye disorders may also be associated with COVID-19:
- The term “episcleritis” denotes inflammation of the episclera, the thin layer of tissue between the conjunctiva and the sclera. Even though coronaviruses are frequently associated with pink eye, case studies indicate that COVID-19 can cause episcleritis. In some instances, the symptoms of episcleritis may first occur before those of COVID-19.
- Retinal Changes: According to researchers, people with COVID-19 have abnormalities in their retinas. Retinal changes include things like bleeding, cotton wool patches, and lesions.
- Optic neuritis: This inflammation of the optic nerve can impair eyesight. Studies have shown that coronaviruses can inflame the optic nerve in animal models, and SARS-CoV-2 may be able to do the same in humans. Neuritis results from the immune system being activated by SARS-CoV-2. Another case study suggests that eye pain and vision loss may coexist with more typical COVID-19 symptoms.
Have also been included in other case reports as to symptoms.
- Excessive tearing and watering of the eyes
- Pain when moving your eyes
- Dilatation of the pupils
The coronavirus family includes SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. People who have coronaviruses may get ocular issues. Animals experience them more frequently, though. Since so many blood vessels exist in the eyes, viruses can quickly enter through them.
An underrated but potential pathway for SARS-CoV-2 infection may be the eyes. People can acquire this infection through their eyes, even though research indicates it’s uncommon. Researchers believe that direct contact with the eye’s mucous membranes is the most likely way for the infection to spread.
As a result, SARS-CoV-2 can be acquired if a person contacts a contaminated surface and then touches their eye when a person with SARS-CoV-2 coughs or sneezes, airborne droplets from that individual may carry the virus into their eyes.
How to Prevent COVID-19 Eye Damage in Your Eyes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise people to always wash their hands before contacting their eyes, nose, or mouth. A study will be done in 2020. Additionally advised, especially in healthcare settings, are protective goggles.
The American Optometric Association suggests the following to protect the eyes:
- Not looking someone in the eyes
- It’s vital to wash your hands regularly, and you shouldn’t touch your eyes with unwashed hands.
- Remaining a safe distance away from people who are sneezing or coughing
- Maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between you and other people.
- Cleaning and sanitizing public areas, including light switches, doorknobs, and phones
- Those who don’t use disposable lenses should clean their lenses under the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses if you’re feeling under the weather.
Does conjunctivitis cause COVID-19, or is it a risk factor?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is one of many viruses and bacteria that can cause conjunctivitis. In some instances, if SARS-CoV-2 is the culprit, this illness may be the only symptom of a virus infection.
When someone has conjunctivitis, COVID-19 does not manifest. However, a person may get COVID-19 if SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of the illness. Even though conjunctivitis is an unusual symptom, it may be a sign of COVID-19, mainly if a person exhibits other symptoms like fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.
COVID-19 Symptoms and Signs
According to the CDC, COVID-19’s more common symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Breathing issues or shortness of breath
- Throat irritation
- Muscular pains
- A runny or congested nose
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- A loss of flavor or fragrance
When should you seek medical attention?
One should see a doctor if they have pinkeye and other COVID-19 symptoms, including fever and cough. However, COVID-19 is not usually indicated by eye symptoms alone.
One should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of the symptoms listed below while exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19:
A lack of capacity to wake up or stay awake; breathing issues; fresh confusion; persistent chest pressure or pain; blue-tinged, pale, or grey lips; or any of the following:
If you have pink eye or other signs of an urgent eye condition:
- Eye trauma or discomfort
- The eyes are red or have a discharge.
- A sudden change in vision or sensitivity to light
According to the CDC, patients experiencing pink eye symptoms are advised to use artificial tears and cold compresses. You should cease using contacts if you wear them until your symptoms go away.
An increasing number of case reports suggest that COVID-19 can induce conjunctivitis, sometimes known as pink eye. Since SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses can bring on infective conjunctivitis, pink eye frequently presents as redness, swelling, and pain in the eye. Pink eye and other eye symptoms are not typical COVID-19 symptoms, but they are conceivable.
According to a study, SARS-CoV-2 can enter the eye through airborne droplets from a cough or by touching the eye after touching an infected surface.
To reduce their risk of catching SARS-CoV-2, people might try to safeguard their eyes. Examples include putting on safety goggles, keeping a safe physical distance, and avoiding touching the eyes with unwashed hands.
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