Coronavirus and Pink Eye
Coronavirus and Pink Eye
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are single stranded RNA viruses. Some of these viruses can cause mild upper respiratory infection such as cough, sneezing, runny nose and mild fever. However, some of these viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) which was detected in China in 2002 and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) which was detected in Saudia Arabia in 2012 can cause severe respiratory distress with high mortality rate.
The most recent type of coronavirus is called “SARS-CoV-2” and it causes a disease called COVID-19 which was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan city, china. This disease can lead to pneumonia and severe respiratory infections.
How does Coronavirus spread ?
1- The virus can spread through small respiratory droplets produced from an infected person when he/she sneezes or coughs.
2- People touch a contaminated surfaces and objects and then they touch their nose, eyes or mouth.
3- The risk of coronavirus transmission through tears from infected person is very low. Scientist didn't detect the virus in the tears of infected person.
COVID-19 Viral conjunctivitis
One of the coronavirus symptoms is conjunctivitis or pink eye which can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. It can occur in 1-3% of people infected with coronavirus.
COVID-19 Viral conjunctivitis can be transmitted by:
1- Aerosol transmission from person to person through air by sneezing or coughing especially if you are in close contact with the patient and you are not wearing protective eyewear.
2- Touching contaminated surface and then touching the eye.
How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 Viral conjunctivitis
• Washing hands frequently with soap and water or alcoholic solutions.
• Avoid close contact with people who show signs of respiratory illness such as sneezing or coughing and keep a distance of at least 1 meter from them.
• Don’t touch your eyes or face with unwashed hand.
• Switch to daily disposable contact lens and always wash your hands before apply or remove the contact lens from your eyes.
• Cover your mouth and nose with tissues or cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterwards.
• Isolate yourself if you have cough, fever or shortness of breath and call medical attention if your condition gets worse.
COVID-19 Viral conjunctivitis treatment
There is no specific treatment for viral conjunctivitis that is caused by coronavirus. It is self-limited and it will go away by itself within one to two weeks. Read this article about home remedies for pink eye for more information about treatment of viral pink eye.