COVID-19 and the Eye

The pandemic known as the coronavirus or COVID-19 is certainly a defining moment in this new decade of 2020. It seems likely every day there are more and more diagnosed cases but we are hopeful that the end is near. While most of you know the common symptoms that come with the virus, which include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, we here at Eye Trends wanted to let you know of the possible signs and symptoms in the eye that can be caused by this virus. Because COVID-19 is a virus it does have the possibility of causing viral conjunctivitis which is the most common type of pink eye. Although evidence shows that when compared to the most common types of viruses the coronavirus is less likely to cause pink eye, there are a few positive cases of the virus that have presented with pink eye. Viral conjunctivitis usually starts by affecting only one eye but can often spread to the second eye. There is usually no significant pain or discomfort and the vision is almost never affected. There can be a watery/serous discharge throughout the day and mild itchiness. The common adenoviral conjunctivitis requires no treatment especially if there are no systemic symptoms. For pink eye caused by viral conjunctivitis, we usually advised lubricating the eye with preservative-free tears as needed for discomfort and frequently washing hands, and avoidance of crowded public places. However, with the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and its high level of contagiousness, we recommend anybody that develops a non-painful red eye(s) self-quarantine and monitor their body temperature very carefully. We also offer telehealth consultations for those presenting with these symptoms. If fever and respiratory symptoms are developed then the person should follow the CDC guidelines, which can be found at www.cdc.gov

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