BREAKING! Ophthalmology: University Of Alberta Researchers Identify Pink Eye As Yet Another Possible Primary Symptom Of COVID-19
According to medical researchers and clinicians from the University of Albert, a case of pink eye is now reason to be tested for COVID-19.
Though coughing, fever and difficulty in breathing are common manifestations and symptoms of the COVID-19 disease that is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, a recent case study involving an Edmonton woman has determined that conjunctivitis and keratoconjunctivitis can also be primary symptoms as well.
The research findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology
In the month of March, a 29-year-old woman arrived at the Royal Alexandra Hospital's Eye Institute of Alberta with a severe case of conjunctivitis and minimal respiratory symptoms. After the patient had undergone several days of treatment with little improvement and after it had been determined that the woman had recently returned home from Asia, a resident ordered a COVID-19 test. The test came back positive.
Dr Carlos Solarte, an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Alberta told Thailand Medical News, "What is interesting in this case, and perhaps very different to how it had been recognized at that specific time, was that the main presentation of the illness was not a respiratory symptom. It was just the eye."
Dr Solarte added, "There was no fever and no cough, so we were not led to suspect COVID-19 at the beginning. We did not know it could present primarily with the eye and not with the lungs."’
Dr Solarte said that academic studies at the outset of the pandemic identified conjunctivitis as a secondary symptom in about 10 to 15 percent of COVID-19 cases. Since then, scientists have gained greater knowledge of how the virus can transmit through and affect the body's mucous membrane system, of which the conjunctiva ie the clear, thin membrane that covers the front surface of the eye, is an extension.
Although the finding provides important new health information for the public, it also makes eye exams more complicated for ophthalmologists and staff.
Dr Solarte added, "The patient in this case eventually recovered well without any issues. But several of the residents and staff who were in close contact with the patient had to be under quarantine. Fortunately, none who were involved in her care also tested positive."
The researchers warned that patients coming into an eye clinic with conjunctivitis and keratoconjunctivitis should now be treated as potential cases of COVID-19 and extra precautions should be undertaken by all staff. Workers performing an eye exam are strongly advised to wear personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to the illness.
Dr Solarte warned, "It's important to ensure that everyone is well protected. Our residents are now using gloves, gowns and facial masks every time they see one of these patients. We need to be really careful about protecti
ve measures to examine these patients."
For more articles on Ophthalmology
, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.