Covid-19 and Eyes

COVID-19 & Eyes

COVID-19 & Eyes

What is it?
A coronavirus is a group of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses commonly found in humans that cause mild illness like the common cold.


SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that causes COVID-19. It is greatly contagious with a
significant fatality rate, especially in the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions such as immune suppression, respiratory disease, and diabetes mellitus. A substantial number of fatalities have occurred, and the impact is being felt the world over.


Mode of Spread
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is believed to be transmitted via respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes. These droplets can enter the mouth or nose of people who are around. The spread of the virus is more likely to occur when people are at a close distance to each other of less than 6 feet (2 meters).


The virus could also be transmitted if people touch an object or surface with the virus present, and then proceed to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. COVID-19 seems to be spreading quickly through community spread in many areas. Community spread is when people who have been infected with the virus are unsure of how or where they became infected.

Symptoms of COVID-19
People who tested positive for COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms. Common Symptoms are fever, cough, chills, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle pain, and a new one, loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may appear anytime from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.


Eye Symptoms
In the field of Ophthalmology, it has been found that conjunctivitis can be a
presenting symptom. Published reports suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can cause a mild follicular conjunctivitis otherwise identical from other viral causes and may possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva. At this point in time however any patient could be infected with SARS-CoV-2, regardless of presenting diagnosis, risk factors, indication for visit or geographic location.


There are now multiple published reports of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 showing presenting signs of conjunctivitis as a first or only sign of illness or developed conjunctivitis during hospitalization for severe COVID-19 disease.


Preventative Measures
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass or spectacle wearers, so there is no undue cause for concern for the moment. Contact lens wearers should continue to practice safe hygiene care such as always washing hands with soap and water before handling lenses. Hydrogen peroxide-based systems for cleaning, disinfecting, and storing contact lenses should be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.


For other types of disinfection methods, such as multipurpose solutions and
ultrasonic cleaners, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to determine their effectiveness against the virus, as the virus is comparatively new (thus novel coronavirus) and every day we learn more about it.


The SARS-CoV-2 virus is vulnerable to the same alcohol and bleach-based
disinfectants and cleaning techniques that ophthalmologists use to disinfect
ophthalmic instruments and furniture. The American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends protection for the eyes, nose, and mouth when interacting with patients and co-workers.


It is especially important to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with
unwashed hands. So, wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose as well as anytime you return home. A good substitute to use is a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.


Advantage of Lasik
Contact lens may predispose you to covid-19 as the eyes are touched several times a day. The same could be said for wearing glasses. A safer alternative to both is Lasik. Lasik allows you to see without the need for either contact lens or glasses significantly reducing the need to touch the face limiting the possibility of becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

About the Author SwagProf