Pink-eye could be a symptom of severe COVID-19


As of April 2, over 9.5 lakh people all over the world have been infected with the novel coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2. Over 48,000 of those infected have died while over 2 lakh have successfully recovered. Researchers all over the world are working tirelessly to find out more about SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) since we can’t hope to fight something we don’t fully understand. This is why, as we go along, we learn something new about COVID-19 almost every day. Today, it happed to be a new symptom of the infection caused by the novel coronavirus – pink-eye.

New symptom: pink-eye

The latest study, conducted in China, included 38 patients and was published in JAMA Ophthalmology on March 31.

The only relation between COVID-19 and the eyes so far has been that eyes can be a transmission route for the virus. The ocular mucous membrane makes it possible for the novel coronavirus to be transmitted into the body through the eyes. Nothing about how the disease may present or affect the eyes had been established yet.

Conjunctivitis generally presents as redness, swelling and watering of the eyes. Of all the participants, 12 showed the symptoms of conjunctivitis, which is also known as pink-eye: 11 of the 12 also tested positive for COVID-19 through a nose swab. And of these, two tested positive through both nose and eye swabs.

What may be of even more relevance is that these symptoms often occurred in more severe cases. The study also raises questions about whether the virus could be shed through ocular secretions (tears).

For more information, read our article on COVID-19: Symptoms, Causes, Transmission, Prevention and Treatment.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.


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