Do Red Eyes Mean Coronavirus Infection?

Recent pieces of evidence show that some redness of the eyes may be associated with coronavirus. A few months ago, CNN reported that a nurse at the nursing home in Washington stated that she noticed red eyes as a clinical symptom in some elderly patients who were infected with COVID-19.

The nurse reported that the sclera of their eyes were not red. The redness of their eyes had more resemblance with allergy-related red eyes wherein the redness is seen on the outer part of their eyes. Later in that nursing home, twenty-nine elderly people died from coronavirus complications.

However, the cases in Washington were the only known report of the association of red eyes with coronavirus which makes it hard to officially announce red eyes as a symptom of coronavirus infection. There is just not enough data to confirm this phenomenon.

Do Red Eyes Mean Coronavirus Infection

Conjunctivitis and Coronavirus

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva and is more commonly known as pink eye. Viral conjunctivitis is often associated with the common cold, flu, and other viral infections. American Academy of Ophthalmology recently notified its members that COVID-19 might cause conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

Despite the statistics from the Washington case, the AAO notes that conjunctivitis is a rare phenomenon among COVID-19 patients. It is believed to affect only 1% to 3% of infected people.

Pink Eye Secretions Can Transmit Coronavirus

Since the pink eye itself is highly contagious, it might then be able to spread coronavirus with eye secretions. The secretions in the eye with conjunctivitis contain the virus which can infect anyone who had contact with it and touches their eyes or other mucous membranes of their bodies.

This makes proper hygiene and handwashing more crucial in stopping the spread of the virus. Other than that, sharing things like towels, washcloths, contact lens equipment, eye makeup, and eye medicine with a person infected with pink eye can also spread the virus.

Do Red Eyes Mean Coronavirus Infection

When Does Conjunctivitis Become a Symptom of Covid-19?

Conjunctivitis could be considered associated with coronavirus if you are experiencing other symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you suspect you have pink eye, contact your doctor immediately. Try to avoid emergency rooms as much as you can because of possible exposure to COVID-19 patients. It is best to coordinate with medical professionals before going to hospitals. In this way, they could help treat you without having to come in contact with suspected patients in the hospital.

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