One in five COVID-19 patients experience dry eye symptoms

Hong Kong researchers report 21% of patients have at least one recent-onset symptom of dry eye disease

eye drops

Researchers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong have highlighted a link between COVID-19 and dry eye disease.

A study published in Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology describes analysis of 109 healthy participants and 228 people who were recovering following a stay in hospital with COVID-19.

All study participants received a comprehensive eye examination and completed questionnaires on ocular symptoms. Participants recovering from COVID-19 were asked about symptoms before and after their COVID-19 diagnosis.

Within the group of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, around one in five (21%) reported one or more symptoms related to dry eye disease.

The most commonly reported symptoms were blurring (9.2%), itchiness (6.1%) and pain or a burning sensation (4.8%).

Researchers found a link between higher viral loads and risk of experiencing ocular surface symptoms.

Lead author, Dr. Kelvin Wan, explained: “The risk of tear film instability after recovery from COVID-19 is associated with the severity of the acute infection.”