COVID-19: the novel coronavirus disease and its manifestations and management in ophthalmology

Discov Med. 2020 May-Jun;29(158):145-157.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a newly identified acute respiratory disease caused by a strain of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), has become a worldwide pandemic. From December 2019 to present, millions of cases have been reported, bringing unprecedented pressure on both health and epidemic prevention services in every country. As frontline healthcare workers, ophthalmologists face an increased threat of viral infection, not only because of close contact with patients during examinations or operations, but also due to evidence showing that ocular fluids such as tears or conjunctival secretions may carry the virus. The risk that healthcare workers face is emphasized by the loss of our colleagues who have sacrificed themselves in combating the virus. As a result, it is necessary to have a comprehensive understanding of the threats that we face. In the first part of this review, we start by explaining the structure of SARS-CoV-2 and examining its transmission and means of infection. Next, we summarize the latest scientific advancements of epidemiology, clinical presentations, and current treatments of COVID-19. In the second half of the review, we emphasize the ocular transmission, symptomatic manifestations, and the essential knowledge in an ophthalmology clinic setting. As the pandemic of COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to global health, we hope that this review makes a contribution to combating COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Serotherapy
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Drug Repositioning
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eye Diseases / immunology
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Eye Diseases / virology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / methods
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunologic Factors