Can you get Covid-19 through the eyes?
COVID-19 gets passed on primarily through droplets from a cough or a sneeze. These particles most often enter through your nose, mouth as well as your eyes. It’s also possible to catch the virus if you touch a contaminated countertop, doorknob, or other surfaces. But this doesn’t seem to be the main way the virus spreads.
Does Covid-19 cause problems with the eyes?
There has been reports from eyecare professionals world wide as a well as a 2020 study by American Academy of Ophthalmology that COVID-19 infection is affecting the eyes, mainly with Viral Conjunctivitis. The researchers identified roughly 23% of children infected with COVID-19 with symptoms of conjunctivitis. However, in adults, this seems to be less common, with evidence suggesting that conjunctivitis is affecting between 1–3% of adults with the disease. It is important to note though that even If you have conjunctivitis, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The more likely causes are the many different viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and allergens that can irritate your eyes.
1. Painful or red eyes
2. Itchy eyes
3. Blurry vision
4. Moving spots or flashes
5. Headaches, nausea and vomiting
If you do experience these symptoms along with COVID-19 symptoms please get yourself tested. If results come back negative, it is important to get your eyes tested to rule out any issues.
Can I still wear contact lenses?
There is no evidence wearing contacts puts you at more risk for COVID-19. However, you should continue to practice safe hygiene habits for wearing and caring for them. Also if you are experiencing cold/flu/COVID-19 symptoms you should refrain from wearing contact lenses until your symptoms have ceased as there is increased risk of microorganisms spreading to your contact lenses and also because of reduced immune response while your body is fighting an infection.
Take home message
- Wash your hands! Frequently and for 20 secs at a time!
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose. There are eye drops that help to relieve itchiness and dryness. If you must touch your eyes, use a tissue instead of your fingers.
- COVID-19 may cause viral conjunctivitis, but it is believed to be uncommon in adults.
- Based on the findings in the eyes of the patients, it has been suggested that exposure of unprotected eyes can also lead to infection. This means, wearing your glasses can actually protect you from exposure to infection!