It’s 2020, the year of the optometrist, but it has not quite gone as planned. As Covid-19 continues to be a part of our lives, we are all beginning to adjust to the new normal. With many businesses starting to reopen and more and more outside activity becoming a part of our normal lives again, there are a couple things that we may want to keep in mind, especially in regard to our eyes.
There is a relationship between Covid-19 and ocular symptoms.
Although a rare symptom, viral conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can happen before, during, or after onset of other Covid-19 symptoms. Some people can also experience itchy, dry, sore, or red eyes. At this point, the virus is contagious, but these symptoms can mirror many other conditions such as seasonal allergies or other forms of pink eye. If you are unsure of the cause and know of any possible exposure, getting tested for Covid-19 is going to be best way to determine if you have been infected.
What the studies are saying:
- It is currently unknown if tears can harbour the virus. In small studies, there were little to no traces of virus found in the tears. Since it is a virus that is new to us, there is still much research to be done.
- Of course, by this point we know that hand-washing and social distancing are incredibly important to stop the spread. Since there may be a chance that the eyes are possible vectors for obtaining the virus, face shields and eye protection are also important for front line workers! However, the average person may not need to worry as much about this type of protection.
- Some studies also suggest that there is no big difference in terms of glasses vs contact lenses and Covid-19. The virus can stick to the surface of glasses or contacts, so regular and proper cleaning of both is recommended.
Covid-19 is affecting everyone right now in different ways and it’s important to remember that if you do start to experience symptoms, get in touch with Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, self-isolate, and get tested.
Written by Rebecca Patterson, CCOA