How Coronavirus Can Affect Your Eyes
The symptoms of COVID-19 include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Though much is still being learned about the virus, it is believed to spread primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It could also be spread if you touch an object or surface with virus present from an infected person, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, two recent reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Pink eye is an infection of the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. It can affect one or both eyes, and symptoms include redness, itchiness, tearing, a gritty feeling in the affected eye, and discharge that forms a crust, making it difficult to open your eye. Although it is as of yet not known for certain, it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by aerosol contact with the conjunctiva, or by touching your eyes after coming into contact with the virus.
Getting Help From A Medical Professional
COVID-19’s symptoms can be unpredictable, and, like other illnesses, it’s important not to self-diagnose. People who experience symptoms are advised to follow the latest guidance from the CDC.
If you think that you or someone you know has COVID-19 or long-haul COVID, speak with a medical professional.
If you notice emergency symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or skin discoloration, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Sore Eyes Can Be A Symptom Of Covid
Conjunctivitiscommonly known as pinkeyehas previously been reported as a symptom of COVID-19. But there are subtleties to the condition specific to COVID, said study co-author Shahina Pardhan, Ph.D.”The term ‘conjunctivitis’ has been used frequently, but conjunctivitis is a broad term, and it can represent many symptoms in the eye, some of which are not shown at all with COVID-19 infection,” she said. “Our research specifies which eye symptoms were experienced during COVID-19 infection.”
For example: “Sore eyes are when the eyes feel uncomfortable or sore,” she said. “The eye symptoms linked to COVID-19 are not mucus discharge or dry eyes or lumps and bumps on the eyelid. Our research showed that light sensitivity and watery eyes were also important.”
Light sensitivity hasn’t been widely reported as a COVID symptom. But last August, Dr. Margot Gage, a Texas epidemiologist, spoke with NPR about how her own six-month battle with COVID-19 involved several symptoms that weren’t commonly known. One of them was sun sensitivity. “Going out into the sun for me is really debilitating,” she said. “It’s like I’m allergic to the sun, almost.”
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How To Protect Your Eye Health And Avoid Covid
The best way to protect against COVID-19 is to avoid coming into contact with the virus. Wearing a face mask is highly effective, but it doesnt shield your eyes, which is why infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, MD, who is a leading authority in the U.S. coronavirus response, recently suggested wearing goggles or eye shields for perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces.
Though goggles and eye or face shields arent universally recommended at this time, if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can, he told ABC News.
Other important steps include following social distancing guidance recommends maintaining six feet between yourself and people who dont live in your household) and hand washing/sanitizing.
COVID-19 can also be contracted by touching surfaces where it lands and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes, so its important to avoid touching your face. Depending on the surface material, the virus can live for several hours or seven days, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Since keeping your hands off your face is easier said than done , be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds , especially after being in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Daily cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces can also help protect you.
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Eight of the patients had chemosis, which is inflammation and swelling of your conjunctiva. Your conjunctiva is the transparent lining that covers the front of your eyeball and the inside of your eyelids. Normally, you shouldnt be able to see your conjunctiva, unless you have super-vision or are exceedingly small and can see the very fine blood vessels that course through your conjunctiva.
Three had conjunctival hyperemia, which blood flow to your conjunctiva causing them to appear red. And seven of the patients had eye secretions. None of the patients had experienced blurring of their vision though.
Now, 38 patients is by no means a large number of patients. It is barely more than the cast of Stomp. And it isnt clear from the publication what medical conditions these patients may have had before becoming infected with SARS-CoV2.
Nevertheless, this wasnt the first study to document eye-related symptoms for those with COVID-19. A study published late February in the New England Journal of Medicinereviewed data on 1,099 patients who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from 552 hospitals in China. Nine of these patients did have congestion, which sounds a bit like a traffic jam in your eyes but instead refers to some combination of the earlier-mentioned eye symptoms. Five of the cases were among the 926 COVID-19 cases in the study that were deemed non-severe and four were among the 123 cases that were deemed severe.
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Rheumatic Conditions And Eye Symptoms
Its also important to keep in mind that inflammatory arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are often linked with eye problems. Different types of rheumatic disease can cause different kinds of eye problems, but common ones include:
- Dry eye
- Peripheral ulcerative keratitis
- Retinal vascular occlusion
If your eyes are bothering you during the pandemic, its important not to let symptoms go unchecked. You may be trying to avoid extra health care provider visits, but you should let your eye care provider, rheumatologist, or primary care provider know so they can advise on what to do next, based on your medical history.
Sore Eyes A Significant Ocular Manifestation Of Covid
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Sore eyes represent a significant ocular symptom in patients with COVID-19, according to a study published in BMJ Open Ophthalmology.
Of 83 participants with COVID-19 who self-reported anterior segment symptoms, 18% had photophobia, 16% had sore eyes, and 17% had itchy eyes.
The frequency of sore eyes was significantly greater during a COVID-19 state than a pre-COVID-19 state . Frequency of other symptoms associated with conjunctivitis, such as mucus discharge and gritty eyes linked to bacterial infection, did not reach statistical significance.
Healio/OSN spoke with Shahina Pardhan, PhD, director of the Vision and Eye Research Institute, Anglia Ruskin University School of Medicine, Cambridge, U.K., about the research she co-authored.
Question: Why is this research important?
Answer: It is known that the eye can be involved during COVID-19 infection. The term conjunctivitis has been used frequently, but conjunctivitis is a broad term, and it can represent many symptoms in the eye, some of which are not shown at all with COVID-19 infection. Our research specifies which eye symptoms were experienced during COVID-19 infection.
Q: Do your findings meaningfully affect current treatment?
Q: Can sore eyes be characterized?
Q: Why are light sensitivity and watering important?
Q: How do your findings inform future research?
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Concern About Contact Lens Wearers
Refraining from touching your eyes, mouth, and nose can prevent the spread of COVID-19, but if you wear contact lenses, touching your eyes cant be avoided. To that end, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has suggested that people who wear contacts consider opting to wear their glasses instead. Besides providing a barrier against eye-touching, eyeglasses can help shield your eyes from respiratory droplets that transmit the coronavirus.
That said, according to Dr. Gorski, theres been no evidence that just wearing contact lenses increases the transmission of COVID.
If you choose to continue wearing your contacts, nows the time to do so safely, he says. Its a reminder of the need to have excellent contact lens hygiene, to avoid rubbing your eyes, and to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
What’s The Connection Between Pink Eye Allergies And Coronavirus
There are some reports that people with coronavirus may develop a Pink Eye or conjunctivitis. But allergies can also cause the same eye symptomsincluding the redness and itchiness. So how can you tell the difference?
Allergic conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes with itching, burning and redness. They may feel gritty like something is in the eye, and there may be some puffiness around the eyes. You will probably also have other allergy symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing. Another thing to note with allergic conjunctivitis is that you have it each year around the same time.
Unlike allergic conjunctivitis, viral infectious conjunctivitis is generally an isolated incident. It also causes burning, red eyes, but there is usually a watery discharge as well .
Doctors would be concerned about the possibility of coronavirus if you have conjunctivitis symptoms along with:
- shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- bluish color to lips or face
- chest pain or pressure
- being extremely tired or feeling like you will collapse if you stand up
- loss of smell/taste
- feeling a new sense of confusion
Other possible coronavirus symptoms you wont find with allergies include diarrhea and nausea.
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Is This Why Omicron Is Spreading So Rapidly Study Claims Ultra
The Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in the airways, according to a study which may explain why the mutant virus is spreading at a ferocious pace.
Hong Kong University researchers also found the new variant replicates 10 times slower in the lungs than its predecessor.
That finding lends weight to the theory it is milder than the past variants, something which doctors in South Africa have been claiming for weeks.
The researchers exposed lung tissue in a laboratory to the original Covid strain that was identified in Wuhan last year, along with the two variants, to compare how the viruses behave after infection.
Omicron replicated faster in the bronchus tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs suggesting people with the strain may be more infectious.
Higher viral loads nearer the throat means people are more likely to breathe out viral particles.
Delta was found to duplicate much quicker in the lungs, where more of the virus can lead to the most severe illness.
The finding may be the biological clue behind why doctors insist people infected with the strain only suffer cold-like symptoms.
UK guidance currently only recognises three symptoms as early warning signs of an infection with the virus, a new continuous cough, a high temperature, and a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell.
He added that Omicron appears to be chipping away at the UK’s vaccine protection from infection, but that jabs were still critical to protecting people.
These Eye Problems Could Be Symptoms Of Covid
Could eye symptoms be a sign of COVID-19 coronavirus?
Looks like the eyes may have it. You know those round things that sit below your forehead and you use to wink and gun at people? Well, add them to the growing list of body parts that may be affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. A study recently published in JAMA Ophthalmology found that 31.6% of 38 consecutive patients with COVID-19 seen at the Yichang Central Peoples Hospital in Hubei Province, China, had eye-related symptoms.
Now this study did have a number of limitations, which will be discussed later. So take any findings from the study with an Ariana Grande cup of salt. Nevertheless, the findings do add to the growing body of evidence that the windows to your soul could also be windows for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 . And as youll see, this does have various implications.
A team from China Three Gorges University and Sun Yat-Sen University conducted the study. The study was actually a case series of patients who were treated from February 9 to 15, 2020. So it wasnt a random sample, didnt include the widest diversity of patients, and didnt have a control population for comparison.
Here is a photo of an eye suffering from conjunctivitis
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What Do We Know About Sore Eyes In Children Who Have Covid
Researchers in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the epidemic, studied a group of 216 children infected with COVID-19. The study was conducted between January 26 and March 18, 2020, just as the pandemic was spreading worldwide.
Of those children, 22.7% had eye-related symptoms. Of those, 55% had a fluid discharge and 39% rubbed their eyes. Just 8% had sore eyes .
The main takeaway from the Chinese study was that children typically recover without major medical interventions. They might need eye drops but rarely much more intensive treatment. Another crucial finding unrelated to sore eyes: 80% of the children were confirmed to have caught the virus from a family member.
Children with systemic symptoms appeared more likely to have ocular symptoms, the reports authors state. They speculated that children coughing into their hands and then touching the area around their eyes could be causing ocular symptoms. Another possibility: Coughing forces viral particles in through the tear ducts, where they can infect the eye surface.
Sore And Itchy Eyes Indicate Covid
File photo – Murali Kumar K
File photo – Murali Kumar K
Face masks have, now, become a part of our daily gear for protection against airborne pathogens, which enter our bodies through our nose and mouth.
Photophobia, sore eyes, and itchy eyes can indicate Covid 19, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal .
Professor Shahina Pardhan, Lead Author, Director of the Institute of Vision and Ayear Research at ARU, said, “This is the first study to examine the various eye symptoms of conjunctive disease in connection with Covid-19 its time frame, and its duration.
“While it is important that ocular symptoms are included in the list of possible Covid-19 symptoms, we argue that sore eyes should replace ‘conjunctivitis’ as it is important to differentiate from symptoms of other types of infections, such as bacterial infections, which manifest as mucous discharge or gritty eyes,” she added.
A study by a group of researchers at the Anglia Ruskin University, in East Anglia, United Kingdom found that sore eyes were significantly more common when the participants had Covid-19. 16 per cent of the participants reported the issue as one of their symptoms. Only five per cent were reported to have had the condition beforehand.
These disease usually occur through different routes, including the eyes and airborne droplets as in the case of Covid-19.
In infants, the Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome is also linked to Covid-19.
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Where Does It Hurt
Sometimes discomfort or pain results from a problem in your eye or the parts around it, such as:
- Cornea: The clear window in the front of your eye that focuses light
- Sclera: The whites of your eyes
- Conjunctiva: The ultra-thin covering of your sclera and the inside of your eyelid
- Iris: The colored part of your eye, with the pupil in the middle
- Orbit: A bony cave in your skull where the eye and its muscles are located.
- Extraocular muscles: They rotate your eye.
- Nerves: They carry visual information from your eyes to your brain.
- Eyelids: Outside coverings that protect and spread moisture over your eyes.
Is My Eye Pain A Symptom Of Coronavirus
Eye pain is a fairly broad term and could be caused by a number of conditions. There are different levels of pain, ranging from severe, as you might find with an injury, to mild irritation found in conjunctivitis.
Eye pain and irritation can often be associated with our environment, activities and even the seasons. Working from home, increasing our screen time for leisure during isolation, and seasonal weather changes could also be the reason people are experiencing eye pain at this time.
There are also lots of articles in the media at the moment suggesting that eye pain could be a potential symptom of coronavirus and the corresponding disease, COVID-19. So well talk you through the current evidence as well as other conditions that could be behind your eye pain.
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Read Ourcoronavirus Live Blog For The Latest News And Updates
I had not really wanted to take the test. I had been at home since Friday, March 6, feeling slightly unwell and self-isolating, just in case. There is no treatment, other than to isolate yourself and rest.
A diagnosis would make no difference to how I behaved or dealt with my symptoms. But I had my 84-year-old mother staying with me for a few weeks and, despite the fact that she has survived polio, rheumatic fever, major heart surgery and a world war, she is not in the best of health.
The community nursing team were waiting for me as I drove into a Covid-19 testing centre on a local industrial estate. It resembled the tyre-change bay at my local garage.
I wound down the window and via an intercom was told, very sternly, to wait in my car. I did not have to get out. Two nurses emerged dressed head to toe in protective clothing. By the expression on their faces it was obvious that they were not about to offer me coffee.
Ryan, a nurse, inserted a swab up my right nostril. He smiled as he popped it into the medium and the second nurse handed him another swab. This time he swabbed the back of my throat. He was very determined to obtain a good culture. Well, lets hope you get better, he said through his protective plastic shield, as he snapped the lid on the tube.
Ryan was lovely. Ryan is one of the heroes working out there on the front line and doing so with huge stoicism and good humour.