Ojas Eye Hospital in Bandra, Kandivali, Mumbai

Covid And Your Eyes: Affect And Protect

August 29, 2020

Introduction

COVID-19 may also spread through eyes, although the incidences are very less. Further, COVID-19 may also affect the health of the eyes. The person should follow various measures toprevent the entry of Coronavirus through eyes.

How Covid Affect The Eyes?

Coronavirus affects the eyes in a variety of ways. The ways include:

Contracting infection: Coronavirus spreads through the mucus membrane. Whenever a person infected with Coronavirus speaks, coughs, or sneezes, the droplet containing the virus may stickto the mucus membrane of the nose or mouth and can get inhaled. Similarly, the eye also has amucus membrane known as the conjunctiva. Thus, when the droplets containing the virus stickson the conjunctiva, it may lead to infection. However, the infection due to the ocular channel israre. Further, when a healthy person touches the infected surface and then touches the eyes ornose, he may contract the infection. There is no evidence that coronavirus causes serious damage to the eyes.

Ocular abnormalities due to coronavirus: People with coronavirus infection may have variouseye symptoms. In a study conducted on 38 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, approximately 32% of the patients had ocular symptoms. The symptoms were more severe inpatients with severe pneumonia. Only a single patient was found in the study, who hadconjunctivitis as the initial symptom. Ocular symptoms present in the patients include conjunctivitis, epiphora, conjunctivital hyperemia, and increased level of secretions. Thus, ocular implications may also cause due to coronavirus infection.

Who Is At Risk For Increased Risk Of Infection Through Eyes?

Following are the people who are at increased risk of getting the infection through the eyes:

  • People with dry eye disease as there is no natural lubrication to flush the virus.
  • People wearing contact lenses without maintaining hygiene
  • People who are in the constant habit of touching their eyes.
  • People who are in proximity of COVID-19 patient who is asymptomatic and do nor worna mask.

How To Protect Eyesf From Covid?

Following are some of the methods to prevent ocular infection:

Wash your hands frequently: Washing hands is considered one of the most effective measuresto reduce transmission of infection. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Thewashing should be done at frequent intervals. You can also sanitize your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer in which the alcohol content should be at least 60%.

Wear sunglasses while going out: While going out, you may use the sunglasses to have an extralayer of protection over your eyes. While the face mask is mandatory to prevent the spread ofinfection, you may increase your protection by wearing sunglasses.

Switch to eye-glasses: People who wear contact lenses may switch to spectacles for the time being. This is because people who wear contact lenses tend to touch their eyes more frequentlyas compared to people who do not wear them. However, if you opt for wearing lenses, makesure you follow proper hygiene.

Avoid rubbing eyes: Avoid rubbing your eyes. Stay away from the environment that increasesthe risk of ocular irritation such as environment with dust.

Wearing face shield: Please note that the spectacles and sunglasses do not provide completeocular protection from COVID-19 infection. If you are taking care of the COVID-19 patient, weara face shield.

Lubricants: To reduce irritation, and frequent ocular rubbing, administer lubricants in the eyes.

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Ojas Eye Hospital A Center of Excellence for Contoura Vision, Femto Bladefree Lasik in Mumbai, India.