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Beach Eye- Covid-19 and Your Eyes

January 24, 2022 Posted by Dr. Shah

The most common effects of COVID on the eyes were revealed by an analysis of 121 patients dating back to the beginning of the pandemic. Researchers conclude that COVID may not cause eye problems in most people. It is important to note that these problems can range in severity from very mild to very severe. They can even damage the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye that plays a significant role in vision. Serving Orange County and Southern California, the experts at Beach Eye are here to help!

How does COVID reach the eyes?

COVID infections affect people differently. As we have already seen, some people have respiratory problems ranging from mild to severe, while others have no symptoms at all. In both infants and adults, conjunctivitis remains the most common sign of COVID in the eyes.

The effects of COVID on the eyes are still unknown, but it is known that some people with COVID experience inflammation throughout their bodies. Blood clots may result from this inflammation. As a result, these clots can travel throughout the body and reach the veins, arteries, and blood vessels in the eye.

The effects of COVID on the retina

These are the 4 most common eye problems that can develop after a COVID infection, according to a new study:

Cotton-wool spots

If blood clots prevent nutrients from reaching the retina, retinal tissue begins to swell and die. An examination of this retinal region reveals a white, fluffy area that appears like a cotton ball. Most people are not affected by these spots.

Retinal artery occlusion or retinal infarction

It is possible for blood clots to form in the retinal arteries, blocking oxygen flow and causing cell death. The condition is called retinal artery occlusion or retinal infarction. A sudden, painless loss of vision is the most common symptom of an ocular infarction.

Retinal vein occlusion

As a result of a blocked retinal vein, blood cannot drain properly. As blood accumulates in the vessel, pressure levels rise, causing bleeding, swelling, and fluid leakage. A person suffering from this condition may develop blurred vision or even become blind suddenly.

Retinal hemorrhage

A ruptured blood vessel wall occurs in the retina. The condition is sometimes caused by an occluded retinal vein. Blind spots and vision loss can result from a hemorrhage.

Who is at risk for eye complications from COVID?

People with COVID rarely develop serious eye-related complications, but some people are more likely than others to do so. The following conditions increase the risk:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood disorders

Other conditions affect the blood vessels

It usually takes between one and six weeks after COVID symptoms begin to appear for eye problems to occur. The problems have also been observed in apparently healthy people with no symptoms of COVID.

While this is the largest study to date on COVID’s impact on the retina, it should be noted that the research team only analyzed data from 121 patients. Currently, researchers are studying how often COVID patients have eye problems and how these conditions can be prevented.

How can we protect our eyes during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Make an appointment with your ophthalmologist in Orange County if you have symptoms of COVID and notice changes in your vision, and let him or her know your symptoms by phone ahead of time so that extra safety measures can be taken.

Furthermore, to protect your eyes and overall health, you should always wear a face mask around others and wash and disinfect your hands frequently.

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