SARS-CoV-2 Impairs Vision

J Neuroophthalmol. 2021 Jun 1;41(2):166-169. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000001273.


Objectives: Affection of the central nervous system and the eyes is increasingly recognized as manifestations of a SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19). This review aims at summarizing and discussing recent advances concerning causes and locations of impaired vision because of an infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: On a literature search through PubMed and ScholarOne, all available publications about COVID-19 patients with impaired vision were retrieved.

Results: Visual impairment in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients may be due to infection of lacrimal glands (dacryoadenitis), conjunctivitis, tonic pupils, vitritis, central retinal artery/venous occlusion, retinitis, retinal bleeding, panuveitis, anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, optic nerve stroke, optic neuritis, optic perineuritis, or occipital ischemic stroke. Visual impairment may be the initial manifestation of SARS-CoV-2.

Conclusions: This mini review shows that impaired vision may be the initial manifestation of COVID-19, that all sections of the visual tract may be affected and causative for visual impairment in COVID-19 patients, and that SARS-CoV-2 manifests along the visual tract with ischemia, focal infection, and immunological reactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*