Purpose: Studies have identified a wide range of ocular signs and symptoms in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients; however, these studies were often conducted outside of the United States. We aim to investigate the ocular manifestations of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at a tertiary care medical center in the United States.
Patients and methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional study was conducted on individuals aged 18 and over who were hospitalized for COVID-19 between March 10, 2020 and April 13, 2020. The electronic health record was reviewed for all patients, and a follow-up phone survey was conducted on patients who were discharged home. Data on patient history, physical exam, laboratory results, and hospital disposition were collected and analyzed.
Results: A total of 400 patients were included. The mean patient age was 61.7 years (SD 15.5) and 233 (58.3%) were males. Ocular signs and symptoms were noted in 38 (9.5%) patients. The most common ocular abnormality was conjunctival injection, followed by vision changes and ocular irritation. Among the 38 patients, 30 (79.0%) developed ocular involvement prior to day 30 of onset of their COVID symptoms. Univariate analysis showed that age, gender, ocular history, fever, mechanical ventilation, and increasing inflammatory markers were not significantly associated with the presence or development of ocular symptoms.
Conclusion: In this study, 9.5% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients exhibited ocular signs and symptoms. Factors associated with severe systemic COVID-19 disease were not associated with developing ocular abnormalities. The rate of ocular manifestations of COVID-19 should not be ignored, and thus physicians should routinely evaluate for ocular involvement in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Keywords: COVID-19; conjunctivitis; ocular manifestations; ocular surface.
© 2021 Feng et al.