How is coronavirus (Covid-19) related to your eyes?

Coronavirus (Covid-19) is caused by a specific type of respiratory virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This virus is transmitted through droplets (via coughing or sneezing) or fomites. 

Depending on the severity and the person’s immune system, coronavirus (Covid-19) can manifest in many ways, ranging from no symptoms or mild flu-like systems (in most cases) to severe viral pneumonia. In addition, a few recent reports have highlighted that coronavirus (Covid-19) can also affect the eyes in the form of viral conjunctivitis with symptoms/signs of watery eyes, redness, swelling and/or discharge. Very rarely, conjunctivitis may manifest as the first sign of coronavirus (Covid-19). Whilst the ocular symptoms are usually self-limiting, affected patients are advised to seek medical advice if they develop any severe eye pain, sensitivity to light or systemic symptoms such as high fever, coughing and/or difficulty in breathing.

If you need further advice or support during this time, please call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or visit the coronavirus (Covid-19) web pages, along with additional information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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