Can the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Affect the Eyes? A Review of Coronaviruses and Ocular Implications in Humans and Animals

Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2020 Apr 2;28(3):391-395. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2020.1738501. Epub 2020 Mar 16.


In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (CoV) epidemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus - 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged from China. This virus causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since then, there have been anecdotal reports of ocular infection. The ocular implications of human CoV infections have not been widely studied. However, CoVs have been known to cause various ocular infections in animals. Clinical entities such as conjunctivitis, anterior uveitis, retinitis, and optic neuritis have been documented in feline and murine models. In this article, the current evidence suggesting possible human CoV infection of ocular tissue is reviewed. The review article will also highlight animal CoVs and their associated ocular infections. We hope that this article will serve as a start for further research into the ocular implications of human CoV infections.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; coronavirus disease 2019; novel coronavirus; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / genetics*
  • Epidemics
  • Eye / virology*
  • Eye Infections, Viral / epidemiology
  • Eye Infections, Viral / virology*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / genetics*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • RNA, Viral

Grants and funding

No funding sources were required for the production of this manuscript.