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Scientists examine the potential of non contact tonometry for viral transmission

Physicists have analysed the droplets generated during a common test for glaucoma to assess the risk of viral transmission

water droplet
Pixabay/ClaudiaWollesen

Researchers have highlighted that non-contact tonometry can result in the formation of droplets capable of transmitting viruses, such as COVID-19.

A study published in Physics of Fluids found that the procedure could expel tear droplets up to a metre away from the patient.

As a result of the findings, the researchers recommended not using eye drops before carrying out the procedure unless medically necessary.

“There is a high probability that patients with watery eyes (naturally occurring due to chronic eye conditions or artificially administered lubricants) can generate potential carriers of pathogens. These may deposit on the surface of instruments like the tonometers,” the scientists highlighted.

Study author, Saptarshi Basu, of the department of mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, shared that the risk of viral transmission is not limited to COVID-19, but other pathogens as well.

“What you think is a very safe, non-contact procedure, even then, one needs to be a little careful,” he said.