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Svjetlost is the leading ophthalmology Clinic in the Southeastern Europe, offering complete ophthalmic services.

​COVID-19 and the eyes

​COVID-19 and the eyes
Show understanding for other people and be responsible to yourself so that we can all together overcome this pandemic as soon as possible.
Although the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus is primarily a respiratory disease, there are elements of the disease that strongly affect our eyes as well.
Whenever a new viral disease occurs in medicine, there is always a risk of spreading through the conjunctiva of the eye.
Namely, our eyes are exposed to the outside world along with our respiratory system and are potentially the place of entry or spread of the virus.
Although the presence of viral particles in tears has been proven in the early stages of this new disease, it has not yet been proven that the amount of viral particles is sufficient to cause infection in another person.

For the disease to be transmitted, it's not enough to prove only the presence of the virus, but a critical amount of virus particles (a copy of the virus) is needed for another person to become infected. There is strong evidence that the severity of the clinical picture of patients infected with SARS-CoV2 is directly related to the amount of initial virus particles at transmission, the higher the amount of virus leads to stronger symptoms and a more severe form of the disease.
 

But what does all this mean?

 
If you look at healthcare professionals you will notice that most of them wear visors or goggles when working with people who are positive or have a suspected COVID-19 infection. In the case of procedures on patients, aerosols are created or there is even direct exposure of the infected person's body fluids. Wearing a visor drastically reduces the chance that these particles will reach the eye and thus become a route of infection for healthcare professionals.
 
But everything we know so far about this disease, although it can always change, the chance of someone in the general population getting an eye infection is theoretical. There is a very small chance of infection if someone coughs or sneezes directly at you (which is why social distance and carrying masks is of an importance).

 
But what if we are infected?

 
A study published back in June showed that almost 22% of those infected had some form of eye disorder. The most common were redness of the eye, increased tearing and difficulty in looking at the light. Also, some studies have shown that there are diagnostically visible effects of COVID-19 on the retina and optic nerve, but for now, apart from the fact that the diagnosis shows this type of damage, it is small and has not been clinically significant.
 

Nose, mask and prescription glasses

One of the biggest difficulties at a time when we all have to wear face masks is with people who wear prescription glasses. Namely, due to exhalation through the mask, the glasses become foggy, and people, wanting to see better, lower their mask below nose to prevent fogging. Unfortunately this is the worst option you can choose. The nose is the place where the virus enters the body, but also exhaling from the nose is a way you can infect other people. We hereby appeal to people who wear prescription glasses to try to get "anti-fog" masks or to try to adjust the masks they have by putting a band-aid around their nose to reduce the "leakage" of water vapor so that the glasses are less foggy and you protect yourself and others. 
 

Lenses and COVID-19

 
Contact lenses are one of the ways to avoid fogging glasses, but unfortunately they are not an ideal choice either. When wearing contact lenses, they can "pick up" dirt, viruses and bacteria from the air and become an ideal breeding ground for the development of eye infections, but also potential pathways for the virus that causes COVID-19. If you wear contact lenses, it is ideal to wear one-day lenses, because this way the chance of introducing the disease into the body due to incomplete lens hygiene is drastically reduced.
 

Diopter removal in the COVID-19 era

 
Even though this virus and the disease it causes have created major problems in all aspects of life, we ​​have noticed a large increase of interest in laser diopter removal surgery. It is possible that some people recognized this moment as ideal for solving vision problems triggered by the problem of fogging glasses.
 

Tips for the end

 
Wear protective masks, always in the correct way, over your mouth and nose. Change the masks regularly and never touch the front or back of the mask, it contains airborne impurities including potentially infectious viral particles.
 
Don’t let the discomfort of fogging your glasses affect the safety of you and others around you. Always put safety ahead of comfort. Healthcare professionals have always behaved in this way, and measures of hygiene and wearing masks are not new to us, but common.
 
In case of redness or dry eye, it is good to try artificial tears first (try to find some without preservatives that can further cause eye irritation), and if the problem persists, seek the help of an ophthalmologist.
 
Show understanding for other people and be responsible to yourself so that we can all together overcome this pandemic as soon as possible.