Australia is one of the countries hailed as a winner in setting an international role model to effectively fight COVID. But from late June 2021, an increased number of cases have been reported that have caused the worst outbreak in the country due to the Delta variant.
Fortunately, the vaccination drive is giving hope, and as per the state report, around ¾th of the Australian population in NSW has already been vaccinated last week. The goal is to vaccinate 70% of the population with the first dose of any vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Moderna).
The symptoms of Delta and Delta Plus are slightly different from long COVID. Besides the most common symptoms of cough, fever, or breathing issues, data reveals a significant number of patients suffering from various eye issues. Though most SARS-CoV-2 infected patients experience respiratory discomfort, unusual manifestations such as conjunctivitis and other ocular symptoms are also observed in some patients.
As Of Sep 21, 2021, 88,710 instances of COVID-19 have been recorded in Australia with around 1,178 fatalities and about 19,478 active cases.
Over the last week, an average of 1,710 new cases have been recorded each day. The majority of the newly reported cases have come from New South Wales. All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication.
Can COVID Delta Variant (B.1.617.2) Infect Your Eyes:
This is neither proven nor estimated, so there are no certain facts on how the covid delta variant can infect eyes. But indeed, there are cases reported, where the person suffering from COVID 19, complains about symptoms like red-eye, pink eye, blurry vision, or light sensitivity. Before reaching any conclusion, more research will be needed.
Among many of the COVID patients, a runny nose, sore throat, and severe headache are the common symptoms.
But when talking about how coronavirus affects the eye? the intensity of eye irritation should be considered. Sometimes, it may be due to seasonal allergies. It should be noted that Red-eyes, itchiness, and blurry vision were existing before the Delta variant and COVID also. All in all, nobody other than doctors can tell whether the Delta variant affects eyes or not.
Some COVID Ocular Symptoms:
At the early stage of COVID, patients do not pay attention to eye problems instead feel are akin to the disease. But when those eye issues seem indefinite, then it could be a reason for worry. Looking at the past reports of COVID cases, it has been observed that in “Long COVID” (A stage in which COVID symptoms last more than a month), patients observe some ocular symptoms including.
- Eye pain
- Red eyes
- Pink eyes
- Itchy and sore eyes
- And in worse cases, permanent loss of eyes.
Can COVID 19 Cause Permanent Damage to Your Eyes?
In Australia, so far there is no such case reported where a patient has lost his vision permanently. Reduction in the level of oxygen in the body and blood clotting are some noticeable symptoms of COVID. According to medical science, metabolically active tissues, such as the optic nerve and cells, can be damaged by oxygen deprivation. Hence, lack of oxygen is the prime culprit that causes long-term eye issues rather than the virus itself. It should be noted that eye abnormalities are frequently observed as a symptom in hospitalised patients. According to a study published in the JAMA Ophthalmology journal, 1/3rd of hospitalised covid patients suffered one or more eye issues.
Despite the low prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears, it is possible that the virus can spread through the eyes.
Is Long COVID Linked to Corneal Nerve Damage?
Long COVID is very serious. Researchers and studies have identified that nearly 30% of the patients, long after recovering from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection have become prone to a wide range of symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, headache, etc. According to a study published in the British Journal, the corneal nerve and Long COVID are connected.
Ophthalmologists conducted a test called Corneal Confocal Microscopy, in which they studied the conditions that may affect the Corneal Nerve of a human body. Conclusively, no concrete result can be drawn. However, research shows some traces of a link between Cornea and COVID.
The researchers also discovered that patients with more severe instances of COVID-19 had more corneal nerve injury.
According to the researchers, extensive study with a larger number of patients can only confirm the preliminary findings. But again these recent findings provide more proof of how strongly eye health is linked to general health.
Conjunctivitis: Maybe an Early Sign of Covid 19
Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis may be an early sign of COVID 19 because it all starts from problems in the Cornea which in turn is due to deprivation of oxygen in the body. We all know that loss of oxygen is the major symptom of COVID. Thus Itching, Sore Eyes, and eye pain are very common when it affects the eye. However, we can not blame the virus alone, but it is actually due to the other symptoms of the outbreak.
A simple way to prevent viral infection is frequently washing hands with soap and water. However, doctors may recommend dark glasses or light-sensitive glasses to cut off bright light that may irritate the pink eye.
How to Prevent Risk Factors of Coronavirus Infections?
- Wear a mask properly.
- Always keep your hands clean. Do it frequently.
- Avoid public contacts.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and lips, if you think your hands are not properly clean
- Keep distance from other people.
- Be aware.
- Sleep well.
- Do not worry.
- Exercise and meditate daily.
- Eat healthy to boost immunity.
- Use prescription glasses instead of contacts.
Related article – How to Stop your Glasses from Fogging Up while Wearing a Face Mask