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New reports from the American Academy of Ophthalmology have indicated a potential link between pink eye and the coronavirus. How can you protect your eyes from contracting or spreading the illness? Our latest blog explains how you can stay safe.

How Does The Coronavirus Affect Eyes?

Although unlikely, It is possible for patients who have contracted the coronavirus to present with ocular symptoms, such as conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye) is an irritation or inflammation of the conjunctiva, which covers the white part of the eye. It can be triggered by allergies or a bacterial or viral infection.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that COVID-19 can cause mild conjunctivitis and is possibly transmitted by aerosol contact with the mucous membrane that covers the eye. Doctors are urging patients with pink eye in conjunction with a fever and respiratory problems to call first. Physicians and medical staff need to take appropriate precautions before seeing patients who could be Covid-19-positive. 

Symptoms to Watch Out For

The most common symptoms of coronavirus include a fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Patients with conjunctivitis may also experience redness in the whites of their eyes, itchiness, discharge, or tearing from the eye. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately and practice self-isolation.

Basic Steps To Protect Yourself

Make sure you know the essential ways to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus: 

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, NOT your hands
  • Wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Stay home if you're sick, no matter your symptoms
  • Wear a facemask ONLY if you are sick or caring for someone who is (masks are in short supply)
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day

How To Protect Your Eyes

Follow these four tips to keep your eyes protected from potential infection. 

1. Take A Break From Contacts Lenses 

Contact lens wearers should consider wearing glasses during this time. Switching to glasses can reduce the need for you to touch your face and eyes, decreasing the risk of potential infection. Additionally, contact lenses can cause dryness, leading to an increased urge to touch or rub your eyes. If you must wear contacts, make sure to follow proper hygiene measures such as regular handwashing before and after handling your lenses, properly disinfecting your contacts, and replacing them as recommended by your eye doctor.

2. Glasses Can Help Shield Your Eyes

Glasses can also provide a physical barrier against respiratory droplets that may contain the coronavirus. When worn properly, glasses can help shield your eyes from potential exposure. However, make sure to properly clean and disinfect your glasses regularly to prevent any potential spread of the virus through contact with your frames or lenses.

3. Try Not To Touch Your Eyes

The virus can enter the body through mucous membranes, such as those found in the eyes. Avoid touching your eyes with unwashed hands to reduce the risk of infection. If you need to touch your eyes for any reason, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after.

4. Have A Good Supply of Your Medications

Make sure to have a good supply of your necessary eye medications, such as artificial tears or medication for chronic eye conditions like macular degeneration. In the case of quarantine or limited access to medical care, it's important to have enough medication to last you at least two weeks. Talk to your eye doctor about obtaining extra supplies if needed.

Stay Safe and Protected with Everett & Hurite

While the potential link between pink eye and the coronavirus is still being studied, it's important to take precautionary measures to protect yourself and your eyes. By following basic steps to prevent the spread of the virus and implementing a few additional tips specifically for eye health, you can decrease your risk of contracting or spreading infection. If you have any concerns about your eye health, our team at Everett & Hurite is here to help with virtual visits and expert care.

Everett & Hurite is now offering virtual visits to patients. Our ophthalmologists are  highly experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. Our state-of-the-art diagnostic technology and eye care products enable us to deliver a superior level of care to all of our patients. If you have any questions or concerns about your eye health, call 412-288-0858 today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can blurry vision be a symptom of the coronavirus?

While the most common symptoms of coronavirus include fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing, there have been reports of ocular symptoms such as conjunctivitis. If you are experiencing any eye symptoms, including blurred vision, eye pain, or eye infection, it's best to seek medical attention immediately.

How can I protect my eyes from potential infection?

To protect your eyes, make sure to take breaks from wearing contact lenses, wear glasses as a physical barrier, avoid touching your eyes with unwashed hands, and have enough medication in case of limited access to medical care.

Can pink eye be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, pink eye can be spread through direct contact with the eye secretions or respiratory droplets of an infected person. To prevent transmission, it's important to practice proper hygiene and avoid touching your eyes.