COVID symptoms: A major eye COVID symptom you can’t ignore

Researchers recently discovered that about 20% of people infected by the novel coronavirus end up with dry eye disease.

Why it matters: The dry eye COVID-19 symptom joins a growing list of various coronavirus symptoms someone can experience after infection.

Driving the news: A new study from the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that the risk of dry eye disease (DED) can increase for those who were infected by the coronavirus.

What they found: Researchers reviewed 228 cases of recovered COVID-19 patients from one to three months after infection and compared those records to 109 healthy people, per the South China Morning Post.

  • Scientists found that patients who had COVID-19 had a higher risk for eye disease.
  • In fact, about 21.5% of patients had one sign of developing the condition.

Symptoms: The most common COVID-19 symptom was blurred vision, followed by itching, pain and burning sensations, per South China Morning Post.

  • Tearing, discharge and redness were also mentioned among the top symptoms.
  • Other symptoms included “grittiness, light sensitivity and lid swelling,” but these were the least common symptoms, according to South China Morning Post.

Flashback: Dr. Nina Aslam, a general practitioner who works for Goldeneye Eye Care in the United Kingdom, told The Express back in January that the omicron variant often caused conjunctivitis — or pinkeye — in patients.

  • “Cell receptors by which COVID variants enter the body are present in the eye,” she said at the time, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
  • “The virus penetrates the body by tricking the receptors for the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE-2) into thinking the virus is the ACE-2 enzyme. 
  • “These receptors are found in different parts of the eye — cells which line the retina, eye white and eyelid.”