Objectives: To evaluate ocular symptoms in European non-hospitalized patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and to investigate associations with the demographic data as well as nasal and general physical symptoms.
Methods: In this prospective, observational study, 108 non-hospitalized patients with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection not requiring intensive care were asked about disease-associated ocular symptoms, demographic data, as well as general physical and nasal symptoms using a standardized questionnaire. Total ocular symptom score (TOSS) was evaluated during and, retrospectively, before development of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Associations between TOSS and demographic data as well as general and nasal symptoms were evaluated.
Results: Seventy-five of the 108 COVID-19 patients (69.4%) had at least one ocular symptom during COVID-19. The most common symptoms included burning sensations in 39 (36.1%), epiphora in 37 (34.3%) and redness in 28 (25.9%), compatible with conjunctivitis. These symptoms occurred 1.96 ± 3.17 days after the beginning of COVID-19 and were mild. TOSS was significantly higher during COVID-19 (1.27 ± 1.85) than before the infection (0.33 ± 1.04; p < 0.001). There were no significant associations between TOSS and gender (β coefficient -0.108; p 0.302), age (-0.024; p 0.816), rhinorrhoea (-0.127; p 0.353), nasal itching (-0.026; p 0.803), sneezing (0.099; p 0.470), nasal congestion (-0.012; p 0.930), cough (-0.079; p 0.450), headache (0.102; p 0.325), sore throat (0.208; p 0.052), or fever (0.094; p 0.361).
Conclusions: Ocular involvement in European non-hospitalized individuals with COVID-19 seems to be highly underestimated. Overall, these ocular symptoms, including burning sensations, epiphora and redness, seem to be mild and to not need treatment.
Keywords: Burning sensations; Conjunctivitis; Coronavirus; Coronavirus disease 2019; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; Watering.
Copyright © 2020 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.