The NHS and WHO report underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure and severe respiratory conditions (among others) may contribute to the Sars-Cov-2 virus developing into a serious case of COVID-19.

However, little is documented about whether or not common eye diseases may play a role in this, too. As such, Specsavers want to make clear the current known scientific information regarding common eye diseases and how they may or may not affect the development of COVID-19.

Is glaucoma seen as an underlying risk of developing COVID-19?

There is no scientific evidence as of yet that suggests glaucoma may increase the likelihood of someone developing COVID-19.

Of course, when administering glaucoma eye drops, it’s important to practice appropriate hand hygiene prior to doing so.

For more information on managing glaucoma at home, you can learn more here.

Are cataracts seen as an underlying risk of developing COVID-19?

Similarly, there is no evidence to suggest that cataracts may increase the chances of developing COVID-19.

For more information on living with cataracts while at home during this time, however, you can find out more here.

Is macular degeneration seen as an underlying risk of developing COVID-19?

Again, there is no evidence to suggest that macular degeneration can increase the risk of developing COVID-19. 

For more information regarding how to manage macular degeneration at home during the pandemic, you can do so here.

Is diabetic retinopathy seen as an underlying risk of developing COVID-19?

While there are concerns that COVID-19 might impact people with diabetes more severely, there is no evidence to suggest that diabetic retinopathy can increase the chances of contracting the disease in the first place.

You can discover more information regarding living with diabetic retinopathy at home here.

Is conjunctivitis seen as an underlying risk of developing COVID-19?

While a very small proportion of COVID-19 patients may currently suffer from conjunctivitis, there is no evidence suggesting that having conjunctivitis can increase the risk of developing COVID-19.

For more information around conjunctivitis and the Sars-Cov-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease, from debunking fake news to understanding whether or not it can be a symptom of the disease, this article breaks down what we currently know. 

For more general advice on eye care and COVID-19, visit the Specsavers care page here. If you're at all concerned about your eyesight, you can use our RemoteCare service to speak to one of our experts via phone or video call.

References

1. Royal College of Optometrists. (20/03/2020). Viral conjunctivitis and COVID-19 – a joint statement from The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and College of Optometrists [Online]. Available at: https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/2020/03/viral-conjunctivitis-and-covid-19-a-joint-statement-from-the-royal-college-of-ophthalmologists-and-college-of-optometrists/ [Accessed 07/04/2020]

2. The New England Journal of Medicine. (06/03/2020). Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China. [Online]. Available at: https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa2002032 [Accessed 07/04/2020]

3. Medrxiv. (12/02/2020). Ophthalmologic evidence against the interpersonal transmission of 2019 novel coronavirus through conjunctiva. [Online] Available at: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.11.20021956v1

 4. Jama Network. (31/03/2020). Characteristics of Ocular Findings of Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hubei Province, China. [Online] Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/2764083 [Accessed 07/04/2020]

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