During the study, experts from the Association for the Prevention of Blindness of Mexico performed a complete ophthalmologic examination in 15 newborns with confirmed COVID-19. All children, 7 boys and 8 girls, were premature. Only 10 mothers were infected, and most likely all children became infected after childbirth through close contact, scientists say.
All infants had periorbital edema, 11 of them had chemosis (conjunctival edema) and hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, and 8 had redness around the edge of the cornea. When examining the fundus, specialists revealed different types of retinopathy in 7 children, one of the young patients had hemorrhage into the vitreous body of the eye. In addition, scientists have found a number of specific violations.
The study authors noted that these lesions may be associated with prematurity, hemodynamic disturbances, or mechanical ventilation, as some babies required oxygen support after delivery. However, there is a possibility that the pathologies are caused by the virus itself, since such disorders have previously been detected in older children and in adult patients.
Now scientists continue to monitor all the children included in the study, and in general, they note a gradual improvement in their condition. But some signs of eye damage remain and it is not yet known if they will have long-term effects.
“If your baby has COVID-19, have a retinal angiography,” advises parents of newborns, lead author of the study, Professor Maria Ana Martinez-Castellanos.