Eyes are the one more entry to the growing list of body parts that may be affected by the coronavirus infection. A recent study from China confirms other reports that the virus can invade the conjunctiva. Not only the coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes but discharge from the infected eye can be a potential source of transmission of infection to others. Proper eye hygiene and protection is crucial during this corona pandemic. Because unprotected eyes were associated with an increased risk of infection and transmission worldwide.
How Coronavirus can spread through the eyes?
Coronavirus gets passed on primarily through droplets from a cough or a sneeze. These particles most often enter through your nose or mouth as well as your eyes. The ocular surface and the eyelids have a high risk of contamination and proliferation by a coronavirus. Some studies show that viruses can spread by touching fluid from an infected person’s eyes, or from objects that carry the fluid. It’s important to take good care of your eyes to reduce the risk of the virus entering into the eyes.
Coronavirus and eye-related problems
According to eye experts, it is very common to see conjunctivitis associated with any respiratory virus. It is also referred to as Red Eyes. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation and swelling of your conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the transparent lining that covers the front of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids. Redness, watering, irritation, pain, swelling, discharge and photophobia are the Symptoms of conjunctivitis. Generally, it is a less common symptoms and found in only about one percent of total covid-19 cases.
Conjunctivitis alone does not usually mean you have been infected with the coronavirus. It can be caused by allergies, other infections and exposure to chemicals. However, if you have fever, cough, sore throat or headache along with your eye symptoms, it’s necessary to test for covid-19.
How to protect your eyes?
Coronavirus infection is not limited to the respiratory system alone. Symptoms of this infection are also seen in the eyes of many patients. It is important to take some necessary steps to keep the eyes safe in this phase of infection:-
(1.) Practice eye hygiene
Practice eye hygiene to minimize/reduce the risk, as eyes could play a role in the spread and prevention of infection. Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands and clothes. Wash your eyes with clean water twice a day.
(2.) Switch contact lenses to specks
If you wear contact lenses, switch to specks, as contact lens wearers touch their eyes more often, which can increase the risk of infection. Specks can also provide an additional layer of protection from coronavirus infection.
(3.) Don’t rub your eyes
If you feel itchiness, don’t rub your eyes. If you must touch your eyes, use tissue paper instead of your fingers. Wash your eyes with clean water or use Moistening drops to ease the itching.
(4.) Wear goggles/sunglasses
Sunglasses may help protect your eyes from any respiratory droplets as you stay outdoors. That may also help keep your hands away from your eyes.
(5.) Stock up medicines
Stock up your eye drops and other essential prescribed medicines in advance.
(6.) Consult your doctor
If you exhibit symptoms related to the eyes, contact your doctor for consultation.
(7.) Cut your risk of contracting an infection
World health organization recommended steps to cut your risk of coronavirus infection, include:
(i) Wash your hands regularly:- Wash your hands with soap and water often, if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitiser.
(ii) Avoid touching your facial parts:- Avoid touching your facial parts- particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. It is the mucous membranes of these parts that are most susceptible to transmission of the virus.
(iii) Use tissue paper:- Use tissue paper to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t use a cloth to rub your eyes or while sneezing and coughing. If the cloth is carrying the virus, it can infect you.
(iv) Wear a face Mask:- To reduce the risk of infection; use a good quality face mask as you step out of your home.
(v) Maintain physical and social distance:- To decrease the risk of infection, it is a must to maintain physical and social distance. Stay at home and avoid going out as much as possible. Avoid close contact with people.
(vi) Clean and disinfect surfaces:- Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your home; viruses can last on surfaces for hours, and so you can reduce your risk of infection.
Stay inside, stay safe!
Researcher:- Divyam Bansal
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