Study examines presence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears
Scientists determined that that the virus can be detected on the conjunctiva and tears of patient with COVID-19
30 November 2021
Researchers have analysed the tears and ocular symptoms of patients with COVID-19.
The research, which was published in Vision, tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears and conjunctival secretions of 56 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
Patients had been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for seven days on average before ocular testing.
Four of the 56 conjunctival swabs were positive for SARS-CoV-2, while four of the strips used to test tears were also positive for the virus.
Within the group of patients, 30% reported ocular symptoms.
No association was found between positive ocular samples and reporting ocular symptoms.
“This study shows that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected on the conjunctiva and tears of patients with COVID-19. Contact with the ocular surface may transmit the virus and preventive measures should be taken in this direction,” the study authors highlighted.
In a different study, researchers found that performing non-contact tonometry can result in the formation of droplets capable of transmitting viruses.
Study author, Saptarshi Basu, said: “What you think is a very safe, non-contact procedure, even then, one needs to be a little careful.”