How Your Eyes Can Play a Role in the Spread of Covid-19
Many health experts and eye doctors say that our eyes can play an essential role in the prevention and spread of the COVID-19.If you want to decrease the chances of contracting the corona virus, you should avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, especially if you haven’t washed your hands. This virus transfers very quickly through the mucous membranes (these are the membranes that cover several cavities in our body).
CDC (Central for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends Americans to wear cloth face masks when going out in public; this can decrease the unknowing spread of the corona virus by those people who don’t have any symptoms. However, face masks don’t protect your eyes.
What is Coronavirus, and what are Its Symptoms?
There are many viruses which belong to the family of the corona virus, and among this family, some viruses have the capability to make you sick. The new corona virus, which is the cause of the current pandemic, is known as COVID-19 (It stands for corona virus disease of 2019). According to the CDC, this new corona virus is the seventh known type which belongs to the corona virus family. This virus can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, and its symptoms also include breathing problems, cough, fever, and sometimes headache, sore throat, and runny nose. These symptoms would start to appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after a person has been exposed.
Most people infected with the virus only develop mild symptoms. Still, the elderly and those who suffer from other medical complications can develop more severe symptoms like pneumonia, which can sometimes result in death.
What is the Relationship between COVID-19 and your eyes?
The transmission of the COVID-19 has a complicated relationship with your eyes. The CDC says that the leading cause behind the spread of corona virus are tiny respiratory droplets; these can get into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Another person who might be standing nearby may breathe in these small droplets either through his/her mouth or through the nose.
These airborne particles can also enter your body through your eyes. If you touch your eyes after touching an infected surface such as a table or a doorknob, there is a chance that you might get infected. To avoid this kind of spread of the corona virus, the World Health Organization and the CDC recommend that you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Doctor Believes Corona virus Entered his Body through his Eyes
Wang Guangfa, a respiratory specialist at Peking University, believes that corona virus entered his body through his eyes when he was treating patients at health clinics in China, without wearing any protective eyewear. He reported that first, his left eye got inflamed; after that, a fever came, and mucous also started building up in his throat and nose. He was eventually diagnosed with the COVID-19.
Wearing Glasses Can Add a Layer of Protection against the Transmission of Corona virus
Those who wear contact lenses touch their eyes more often than others, and we know that there is a chance of corona virus transmission through the eyes. To minimize the transfer of the corona virus through eyes, the American Academy of Ophthalmology asks those who wear contact lenses to switch to glasses temporarily. Still, if you must wear contacts, you should strictly follow the direction for lens care, says the American Optometric Association.
Keep in mind that eyeglasses and sunglasses don’t provide 100% protection against the infected respiratory droplets, which might be in the air. For better security, one should use safety goggles. The WHO recommends specific use of safety goggles when taking care of a person who is infected with COVID-19.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) and Corona virus
People who have contracted the COVID-19 may develop ocular diseases like pink eye. Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an eye disease which causes the inflammation of the membrane which is covers your eyeball. The pink eye often results in the red, infected, weepy and wet eyes.
Upper respiratory infections like flu, cold, etc. are known to have a relation with viral conjunctivitis, and these symptoms might also have a relationship with the corona virus. In a recent study of hospitals across China, it was found that 9 out of 1099 patients who were infected with corona virus also showed symptoms of conjunctival congestion or infected eyes. This shows us that the occurrence of pink eye in corona virus patients is extremely rare.
How is the Novel Virus Diagnosed?
Health care professionals are diagnosing the virus by taking blood or respiratory samples and running laboratory tests on them. In the U.S. the testing of corona virus has started to become a problem because of the scarcity of some testing kits; nevertheless some cities now have established drive-thru testing facilities
Is there some kind of treatment or vaccine for COVID-19?
For now, no antiviral treatment or vaccine has been established; still different drugs are being testing which might be effective against the new corona virus.
The best way by which we can minimize the spread of the virus is by putting infected people into quarantine.
Things you should do to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19
Often Clean Your Hands
You should wash your hands with soap and water for about 20 seconds, especially after you visited a public place, used the restroom, coughed, sneezed or blown your nose. You should avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, especially if you haven’t washed your hands.
You should practice social distancing. If someone is sick, you should avoid any close contact with that person. And if you are sick, you should stay at home.
Cover Your Sneezes and Coughs
While sneezing or coughing, you should bury your mouth into the crook of your arm or use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth. Properly dispose of used tissues. After coughing or sneezing you should immediately wash your hands with water and soap for about 20 seconds. And if you are sick, you should wear a face mask which will cover your nose and mouth.