How does COVID-19 affect your eyes?
The extent as to how much COVID-19 affects your body has been studied a great deal over the past year. In most cases, the lungs and respiratory system are thought to suffer the most damage from the virus.
But what about your eyes?
New evidence suggests that your vision, and specifically the retina, may undergo changes as well after contracting COVID-19.
Several recent studies have examined the effects that the virus may have on the retina, especially in the absence of any other typical COVID-19 symptoms.
Austin Retina Associates’ board-certified ophthalmologist and retina disease specialist Dr. Shelley Day Ghafoori says the most common side effects of COVID-19 reported on the retina are cotton wool spots (white patches appearing on the eye) and retinal hemorrhages, bleeding that occurs inside the eye which can lead to blurred vision.
Additional research has shown that COVID-19 also may cause retinal vein occlusions. Vein occlusions block blood flow of veins in the eye and retina and could potentially lead to loss of vision if not treated properly.
Dr. Ghafoori also mentions the significance of additional data suggesting that evidence of retinal damage due to COVID-19 may only be diagnosed via an imaging study of the retina.
She says, “If you’ve had COVID-19 and you start experiencing blurred vision or blind spots, it’s important to see a specialist immediately. Diagnostic retinal imaging is something we do routinely here at our practice.”
At Austin Retina Associates, optimal retinal health for our patients is of the utmost importance. We are committed to excellence in retina care and will continue to stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 retina research.