As COVID-19 is a relatively novel disease & research related to it is still undergoing, every day, some of the other new information about the virus comes up. As per the latest study, one of the symptoms of coronavirus can be getting pink eye or conjunctivitis.
Viruses that cause seasonal cold and flu also can provoke conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva is a thin, translucent layer of tissue that borders the inner eyelid and covers sclera i.e., part of white of the eye. When a person suffering from cold cleans his runny nose or blow his nose, the possibilities of transfer of virus to the eye can’t be overlooked—simply wiping tears from eyes or touching eye, transfers virus into the eye.
Medical experts believe that same as a seasonal virus, coronavirus can also enter the eye and cause conjunctivitis or pink eye. As per the American Academy of Ophthalmology – the pink eye can be one of the occasional indications of COVID-19, the disease that is caused by a coronavirus.
A study conducted in China & published in JAMA Opthalmology states that out of 38 patients with COVID-19, 12 also had a pink eye (conjunctivitis). Specialists confirm that a virus can spread if a person suffering from pink eye rubs his infected eye and later touches someone else. Researches suggest that the virus can spread during an eye examination too.
How can you avoid contracting coronavirus through the eye?
- As per AAO, it is recommended that regular eye checkups should be skipped during this pandemic, whereas it also mentions that eye-related emergency to be still treated.
- Ophthalmologist advice people to switch to glasses from contact lenses, to avoid touching the eye
- Many times unknowingly, we tend to touch our eyes. So it is essential to wash hands frequently for 20 seconds to prevent viruses on hand.
- Reduce your exposure i.e. avoid being near to the person who seems to have conjunctivitis. Also, if you have a sign of the pink eye, stay at home and isolate yourself, until proper diagnosis.
If, by any chance, you feel that you may have conjunctivitis visit your nearby eye specialist. Make sure for consultation; you make a prior call to the eye clinic before the actual visit. Inform them about your symptoms and that you suspect having pink eye. This can help eye doctors to take necessary precautions to treat your eye problem efficiently & simultaneously prevent the transmission of the virus if present.