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Can Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affect My Eyes?

31st March 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate the headlines. It is crucial to understand the risks and symptoms associated with the virus. Especially how to protect yourself and those around you.

Looking after your health includes taking care and precaution with your eyes. It is unlikely that you can catch coronavirus through the eyes, but it is still important to practice good hygiene to minimise any potential risks.

But, can coronavirus affect my eyes?

There has been a small number of patients contracting conjunctivitis late into the disease. Conjunctivitis is a common eye problem that is easily treated.

In a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine found in a Chinese hospital, 9 out of 1,099 (0.8%) of patients contracted conjunctivitis or ‘red eye’ while being treated for coronavirus.

Indicating that the likelihood of coronavirus affecting the eyes is low.

Currently, most COVID-19 research is focused on the life-threatening implications it can have with the respiratory tract and respiratory illness. So little research has been done into how coronavirus can affect other organ systems especially as they could be another mode of likely transmission.

So, you must guard your eyes, hands, and mouth to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

We recommend:

If you wear contact lenses, switch to wearing your glasses. Generally, contact lens wearers will touch their eyes more which may increase your risk of germs spreading. Wearing glasses can also reduce irritation and act as an additional layer of protection. Although this can’t provide 100% security, it’s better than nothing.

Avoid rubbing your eyes. If you need to, use a tissue to rub your eyes instead. If you do need to touch your eyes or tend to your contact lenses, ensure you fully wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before.

Finally, expect some changes to any upcoming eye exams or procedures. Since doctors need to sit face-to-face with you. If your appointment is postponed, remain compliant with your medications. Also, contact your eye doctor if you’re running low on your eye medication or prescriptions.

To reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus it is important to:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently
  • Wash your hands when you get home
  • Use hand sanitiser where soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues immediately in the bin and wash your hands afterward
  • Reduce your person to person contact with others by staying at home
  • Follow the updated government guidelines
  • Do not touch your eyes, mouth or nose as the mucous membranes are most susceptible to transmission of viruses

Get in touch with us on 0800 024 8888 for any eye-related queries or contact us online.


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