COVID-19 patients may be at higher risk for rare, vision-threatening eye conditions
A recent study indicated that the incidence of potentially vision-threatening eye disorders in adults is up to 50% higher in the six months following COVID-19 infection than in individuals who do not contract the virus. The researchers said in an article published Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology that these eye-related consequences, such as clots in the primary artery delivering blood to the eyes or comparable obstructions in the veins that drain blood from the retina, are still "rare." The data showed that 16 of the more than 432,000 individuals with confirmed COVID-19 infection in the research suffered retinal artery occlusion, a blockage in the primary artery supplying blood to the eye. According to the researchers, 65 people got a retinal vein occlusion, or a stoppage in one of the veins that drain blood from the eyes, within six months of infection. Although these effects are uncommon, a person's chance of having a retinal vein occlusion is 54 percent higher six months after contracting COVID-19 than six months before contracting the virus, according to the researchers. According to them, the risk of retinal artery blockage is 35 percent higher following infection. "Even after correcting for other risk factors, we observed that the incidence of retinal vein occlusions rose in the six months after COVID-19 infection," study co-author Dr. Bobeck Modjtahedi said. It is most commonly caused by artery stiffening and the creation of a blood clot, which can lead to vision-threatening disorders like glaucoma and macular edema, as well as fluid leaks into the record, according to the report. A branch of the retinal artery is closed with retinal artery occlusion, resulting in a lack of blood and oxygen to a region of the retina, resulting in visual loss. Both disorders are commonly linked to diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, though COVID-19 has previously been linked to the formation of blood clots in research. Patients with retinal vein occlusion developed it six to eight weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, while those with retinal artery occlusion developed it within 10 to 12 weeks of COVID-19 diagnosis, according to the findings. "It's critical to have a patient tested as soon as possible if they notice a change in their eyesight," Modjtahedi added. "Patients should aim to maximize their general health by controlling their blood pressure, doing a good job with their blood sugars, if diabetic, and lowering their cholesterol levels," he said. "Retinal vein occlusions are a serious eye ailment that can result in irreversible vision loss," said Modjtahedi, a vitreoretinal surgeon at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. "However, some of the symptoms of this condition, such as retinal edema, can be controlled." "As a result, individuals who develop changes in their vision or ocular problems after COVID-19 should seek medical attention," said Modjtahedi, who is also an associate professor at Kaiser Permanente's Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in Pasadena, California. According to the National Library of Medicine, retinal vein occlusion is a blockage of the small veins that take blood away from the retina, the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that translates light images into nerve signals and delivers them to the brain. Sore, stinging eyes may be a symptom of coronavirus, according to some scientific research. It explains that 16 percent of the 83 Covid-positive patients examined reported having irritated eyes, according to Anglia Ruskin University researchers. "Most patients reported these ocular symptoms within two weeks of other more typical COVID-19 symptoms, and most said they lasted less than two weeks," the organization added. "So, if you're having eye discomfort but don't have any other COVID symptoms, it's likely that the pain is caused by something else." It mentions that conjunctivitis, an eye infection, can produce all of these symptoms. "Only approximately one to three percent of COVID-19 people have this, so it's quite rare," says Specsavers. "It tends to happen in the later stages of the disease, along with a chronic cough and fever." "Pink eye (conjunctivitis) can be a COVID-19 symptom," according to the Mayo Clinic. "The most common eye problems linked to COVID-19, according to research, are light sensitivity, sore eyes, and itchy eyes." "Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies," according to the NHS. Without treatment, it normally improves in a few weeks.