COVID-19 Does Not Infiltrate or Affect the Eyes, Experts Found

A recent study has found that novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 appears to spare the eyes, with no significant levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected in the retinal and vitreous fluid.

Photo: COVID-19 Does Not Infiltrate or Affect the Eyes | InStyleHealth


Experts facilitated a post-mortem analysis on 10 eyes from patients who had COVID-19, as confirmed through pharyngeal swabs and broncho-alveolar fluids. Retinal tissues and vitreous fluid underwent histopathological evaluations and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction or qRT-PCR for viral RNA detection.

Both left and right eyes, qRT-PCR was not able to detect SAR-CoV-2 viral RNA in the retina and vitreous fluid. Similarly, the histopathological analysis revealed no signs of ischemic sequelae or lytic cellular lesions, indicative of viral infection.

Hematoxylin and eosin stains also revealed generally normal extra- and intra- ocular morphology with no clear evidence of retinal inflammation or vessel occlusion.

Researchers also ran their qRT-PCR with positive and internal controls to ensure that the absence of viral RNA was indeed true and accurate. In all cases, they encountered no problems with the controls, further suggesting that SAR-CoV-2 does not infiltrate or affect the eyes.

Furthermore, researchers added that in their small cohort of COVID-19 deceased patients, retinal histopathology appeared normal. Additional studies are needed to confirm or refute the results and should also include additional markers to detect immunopathological changes and inflammation in the eyes.

 

Source: PLoS One 2021;doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251682

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