COVID 19 and the Eye
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The most common symptoms that are associated with a SARS-CoV-2 infection are typically fatigue, fever, dry cough amongst others such as loss of taste and/or smell, general malaise and shortness of breath. However, a number of patients who have been diagnosed with the virus have reported symptoms related to their eyes such as conjunctivitis. The ophthalmologist Dr Li Wenliang, who was working in Wuhan Central Hospital, China, was one of the first people to recognize the outbreak of COVID-19 in late 2019.
Investigators at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, sought out to discover the type, frequency and duration of ocular symptoms. The study, published in BMJ Open Ophthalmology, asked participants diagnosed with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to fill out an online questionnaire.
The findings reported that just 5% of the participants stated that they had sore eyes prior to having COVID-19, while 16% reported having the issue as one of their symptoms during their infection. Photophobia, a sensitivity to light, was reported in 18% of the participants, although this was only a 5% increase from pre-COVID reports. 83% of the people who filled out the questionnaire said that their ocular symptoms happened within two weeks of their other COVID-19 symptoms, and 80% said their eye problems lasted less than 2 weeks.