The American Academy of Ophthalmology posted an alert regarding findings in a Journal of Medical Virology study that shows COVID-19 may be detected in tears and conjunctival secretions in novel coronavirus pneumonia patients with conjunctivitis.
The recently published prospective interventional case series included 30 confirmed novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) patients at First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, China, with 21 classified as common type and nine classified as severe type. One patient in the cohort also had a diagnosis of conjunctivitis.
Every 2 to 3 days, researchers collected tear and conjunctival secretions twice with disposable sampling swabs for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay, according to the study.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology posted an alert regarding findings in a COVID-19 may be detected in tears and conjunctival secretions in novel coronavirus pneumonia patients with conjunctivitis.
Researchers found two conjunctival swab samples from the one common NCP patient with conjunctivitis were positive. The patient’s sputum samples were also positive. The 58 other samples from 20 common type NCP patients and nine severe type NCP patients were all negative, according to the study.
Ophthalmologists who see patients with conjunctivitis should be aware of the need for further evaluation, according to the AAO. These patients should be evaluated for accompanying respiratory symptoms as well as a history of recent international travel, particularly to areas with known outbreaks.
Alert: Important coronavirus updates for ophthalmologists. www.aao.org/headline/alert-important-coronavirus-context. Published March 3, 2020. Accessed March 4, 2020.
Xia J, et al. J Med Virol. 2020;doi:10.1002/jmv.25725.