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Coronavirus Transmission through The Eyes

Corona is a novel virus that spreads disease named Covid-19, through the respiratory track and can also be fatal. A person may contract the virus by coming in contact with the contaminated surface, infected person or breathing in an environment where the respiratory droplets are present when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also speculated that the virus has potential to spread through the eyes. But, accurately put, according to World Health Organization’s statements, the virus can be transmitted through droplets of saliva or mucus, from the nose of an infected person, and the infection then finds way through a victim’s mouth towards the respiratory organs.

Transmission Through The Eyes:

Conjunctiva is a thin membrane that shields the eye ball and layers the inner eyelid, and American Optometric Association has declared that this protective layer has a potential threat from the virus which enters through conjunctiva and then spreads though the respiratory organs. Moreover, experts also pointed the ‘Pink Eye’ infection, also known as conjunctivitis, as effect of the virus and is likely to be counted as a symptom of the covid-19. However there is no valid evidence attached to the theory since a mere 1-3% of infected persons have been recorded to have the eye infection as well.

SARS and COVID-19:

A small scale study was made recently, and published on 20thMarch which speculated possibility of the virus to spread from eye to your body, but the study is inclusive of small number of subjects and hence does not give a definite answer but logically valid enough to convince us to take precautions for possible transmission through eyes. The very small number of people was recorded to have the same symptoms as SARS since both the viruses behave in same manners. The study was held on 38 Covid-19 patients in China whichrevealed SARS being similar to coronavirus but was considered comparatively deadly until more cases continued to report of fatalities from coronavirus from around the world. In the same study it was noted that a small number of patients from Coronavirus had pink eye, which is also common with SARS patients, and hence experts claim that the pink eye in coronavirus patients is one of the symptoms where the virus has potentially spread through conjunctiva.

Are Tears Capable Of Spreading Virus?

After reading all of the above, you must wonder if the virus has the character to spread through tears of an infected person, or if they are capable of contaminating the surface they touch, such as a tissue, handkerchief or a hand. A similar research was held in Singapore and published in March in a medical journal overruled the spread of virus through tears. All samples collected from tears of all coronavirus patients were studied for traces of contamination, but were found to be clean, and it was reiterated that the virus takes home in patients’ throats and noses and polluted the droplets produced or passing through the nasal passage or throat. And hence, the spread of virus can be only slowed through washing hands, sanitization and avoiding to come in contact with contaminated persons or places.

How To Help Curb The Spread?

There is a lot that can be done to help prevent ourselves from getting infected as well as those around us. Though not much is known about the virus from its limited history, but with time and research medical experts and health organizations around the world are insisting on a few steps to curb the spread of coronavirus. Some easy but important steps we all can take to play our part in flattening the curve, are:

Washing Hands Frequently:

It is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, for 20 seconds. Experts have also suggested certain moves which can help the soap reach all parts of the hand and wrist, parts which generally come in contact with any surface. For further protecting, you may use an antiseptic solution in water for washing hands and bathing.

Not Touch Your Eyes:

Though as much as you would want to, but it is important to ignore the urge to touch your eyes, or face. Eyes are a sensitive organ and a slight itch or contamination can become unbearable but rather than touching your eyes, continue to wash with clear water, so as to avoid the virus from latching on to the conjunctiva for possible infection.

Maintain Social Distance

It is also necessary to maintain your distance from people in a public place so as to avoid contamination. Studies revealed that majority of coronavirus patients are not aware of the infection residing inside them for the first couple of weeks, and continue with routine tasks which results in unintentional and unknown spread of the virus in multiples. Hence avoiding crowds comes with possibility of keeping you safer.

Avoid Infected Persons

You may not know if someone you meet has been exposed to virus, or how to react if someone shows symptoms of the virus but has not been tested yet. It is advised here by experts to maintain distance in meetings and, if possible, to initially avoid meetings at all cost. Also, wash hands after meeting someone as well as take medical precautions to keep safe.

Cover Mouth And Nose:

To play your role, you must cover your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets such as mucus and spit from reaching out or spreading. This will also help prevent the virus from being transmitted to you when you breathe.

You must also cover your eyes when stepping outdoors since the respiratory droplets in air have potential to harm eyes when in contact with them. For prevention you may use eye glasses, goggles or shades. Whereas front-line medical professionals must wear wrap-around safety goggles which do not leave space for virus to enter from sides, along with the protective gear. Since we are aware that the virus can potentially spread through eyes, you may want to avoid eye-care appointment until the transmission of virus and prevention of same is better understood.