APN News

  • Tuesday, March, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 07:50:40
  • Authored by Dr. Sanjana Vatsa, Consultant Ophthalmologist,

    Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital Bengaluru


    We are all aware of the chaos created by the Corona virus in different parts of the world which has now become a global emergency. This virus has been currently referred to as 2019 Novel Corona virus (2019-nCoV)

    Y is it called Corona virus??? Corona in Latin means Crown, and this virus gets its name from there as it has a series of spikes like crown on its surface.  Eyes might play a significant role in the spread and prevention of the coronavirus outbreak threatening countries all over the world.


    It can spread by droplet / contact / airborne source.

    • The most common mode of transmission is through the respiratory droplets (coughing and sneezing)
    • Transmission can occur when people touch an object contaminated with virus and touch their eyes/ nose/ mouth
    • Transmission is also possible by aerosol contact with conjunctiva and spread through secretions of the eye as well. Thus people with conjunctivitis and respiratory symptoms in addition to recent international travel should be more cautious.


    Patients can be carriers of infection before experiencing any of the symptoms

    Symptoms usually show up 2-14 days after exposure to the virus


    Virus can cause conjunctivitis:

    Coronavirus can affect the conjunctiva which is the tissue lining the inside of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis can be the very first symptom. This increases the likelihood that the ophthalmologists may be the first providers to evaluate patients possibly infected with Corona virus.


    Symptoms of the Conjunctivitis:


    Redness, watering, irritation, pain, discharge and photophobia. Discharge from the infected eye can be a potential source of contamination.

    Respiratory symptoms:

    Fever, cough, sore throat, running nose, breathing difficulties and headache. Severe cases may lead to pneumonia and death.


    Less has been spoken about the ocular manifestations of the Corona virus infection. Thus it is important to spread awareness amongst the public regarding the same. People with eye redness and discharge should be cautious and seek immediate medical advice by trained ophthalmologists to rule out viral conjunctivitis which might manifest even before the respiratory symptoms occur.


    What Protective Measures Should We Take

    First and foremost, donot panic!!

    Following simple hygiene measures will provide protection and prevent the acquisition of Corona virus or any other viral infections

    • Use N95 / simple surgical mask when exposed to public places
    • Avoid cold beverages /cold food items
    • Have more of warm fluids and warm foods
    • Stay well hydrated
    • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth when your hands are dirty.
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for atleast 20 seconds. Alcohol based sanitizer may also be used
    • Use goggles to cover your eyes
    • Health care workers should use medical mask, goggles and facial protection to avoid contamination of mucus membranes

    So far there is no vaccine / anti viral treatment available. The focus is on managing the symptoms and providing supportive treatment as the virus takes its course.Thus the best method to limit the spread of virus is to quickly isolate people who are infected.

    As global concerns escalate, especially given the novel nature of the virus, it is the responsibility of the health care providers and the general public in taking all the necessary safety measures.