Ophthalmic Manifestations Of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.
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Excerpt

Since December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic caused by the highly transmissible severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Initially, there were several reports of eye redness and irritation in COVID-19 patients, both anecdotal and published, supporting conjunctivitis as an ocular manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Reports continue to emerge on further associations of COVID-19 with uveitic, retinovascular, and neuro-ophthalmic disease.

During the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, a study detected SARS-CoV in tear samples in SARS patients in Singapore. Lack of eye protection was a primary risk factor of SARS-CoV transmission from SARS patients to healthcare workers in Toronto, prompting a concern that respiratory illness could be transmitted through ocular secretions. Similar concerns have been raised with SARS-CoV-2, especially among eye care providers and those on the front lines triaging what could be initial symptoms of COVID-19.

As conjunctivitis is a common eye condition, ophthalmologists may be the first medical professionals to evaluate a patient with COVID-19. Indeed, one of the first providers to voice concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus in Chinese patients was Dr. Li Wenliang, MD, an ophthalmologist. He later died from COVID-19 and was believed to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic glaucoma patient in his clinic.

The authors of this article have attempted to collect the most up-to-date information on ophthalmic manifestations of COVID-19 as a resource for identifying symptoms, providing diagnostic pearls, and mitigating transmission.

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