The fact that SARS-Cov-2 can enter the eyes and persist there for quite a long time became known at the beginning of the pandemic. In April last year, Italian scientists discovered SARS-CoV-2 in the secretions of a patient’s eyes. The doctors decided to examine the discharge samples due to the fact that the patient’s illness was accompanied by prolonged conjunctivitis. It is noteworthy that the pathogen was detected in the secretions from the eyes longer than in swabs from the nasopharynx (27 days), and was viable.
A new study conducted by specialists from France indicates that COVID-19 is associated not only with conjunctivitis, but also with other ophthalmic pathologies – retinopathy, optic neuritis and various irritations of the eye mucosa. This paper presents for the first time data on the results of an MRI of the eyeball of people with severe coronavirus.
The authors analyzed medical records and MRI data of 129 patients who were hospitalized with severe COVID-19 from March to May last year. Nine patients – eight men and one woman – were found to have one or more nodules of unknown origin between the retina and the vitreous humor.
The scientists noted that eight of the nine patients who were found to have these abnormalities were treated in the intensive care unit. More research will be needed to understand whether these changes are associated with inflammation or with the fact that patients were forced to spend several weeks in a supine position.
“Consideration should be given to examining the condition of the eyeball in all patients with severe COVID-19. Serious problems can go unnoticed, therefore, screening for follow-up supervision of such patients is necessary to avoid severe ophthalmological manifestations, ”the study authors said.