Can Coronavirus Transmission Happen Through the Eyes?

Coronavirus modes of transmission are still being debated until today. Some studies claim that it is airborne, some researchers say no. Some say it can be transmitted through all the membranes of the body, including the eyes. Some say no.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, coronavirus is transmitted through close contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person. These droplets may land in the mucus of an uninfected person and travel to the lungs. The most common point of entries are the mouth and nose, but it is also possible to enter through your eyes. Your eyes are lined with mucous membranes that are susceptible to coronavirus transmission.

However, we can stop the spread through proper hygiene and handwashing.

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How Does Coronavirus Enter the Eyes?

Medical experts stated that coronavirus may enter your body through the conjunctiva in the eyes and travel through the blood vessels. Any infected respiratory droplets that may land on your conjunctiva or infected hands that you rubbed on your eyes may get you infected as well. The conjunctiva covers the front of the eye and the inner part of the eyelids. It is a clear and thin membrane that may turn red or pink when infected with the coronavirus.

Studies suggest that conjunctivitis or also known as the pink eye may indicate coronavirus infection. It could be rare but statistics say that 1% to 3% of people with coronavirus had conjunctivitis as one of their symptoms.

Do Tears Spread Coronavirus?

Here is a piece of good news. Although eyes can transmit the virus, tears do not. The only droplets that can contain the virus are the ones from the respiratory system. Tears have their ducts that are separated from your lungs, mouth, and nose.

According to a recent study, researchers in Singapore detected no traces of coronavirus in infected patients’ tears. The virus was only found populating in the patients’ noses and throats. Despite all of this, we should all be protecting our eyes no matter what.

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How Important is Eye Protection During Coronavirus?

Now that we know that coronavirus may transmit through our eyes, all health care providers are now mandated to wear protective eyewear when tending to their patients. This includes wearing masks along with goggles, glasses, or face shields that also protect the eyes.

To limit the spread of infection, eye care professionals are also advised to decrease the amount of routine eye care visits and elective procedures in the meantime. However, medical emergencies should still be accommodated at any time of the day until it is already safe for the public to wander the streets again.

SEE RELATED: How to Care for Your Eyes During Coronavirus

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