The ocular surface, which is constantly exposed to the external environment, is one of the most sensitive zones and any complications which have a detrimental impact on it leading to reduced vision and/or blindness, severely impact the quality of life. The most commonly afflicted parts of the eye are the conjunctiva, eyelid, and cornea due to their position. Since the eye is moderately susceptible to microbial infection from bacteria, fungi or even viruses; there has been much speculation about whether or not the novel coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) can lead to ocular disorders. Given the high rate of transmission for this disease, it is of great importance to evaluate the risk of disease communication from the eye, such as by conjunctival and/ lacrimal discharge.
While there are many articles on the topic exploring the ocular aspect of COVID-19/ SARS-CoV-2 infection; there is a significant volume of data that may or may-not seem contradictory at first glance. This is primarily due to the still-emerging nature of this disease and new data that is being unearthed every day. The problem is compounded by the fact that despite the over-all concordance, the different clinical teams have varying diagnostic criteria. This review attempts to consolidate the data available thus far regarding the risk of COVID-19 transmission from conjunctival/lacrimal discharge apart from the known modes of transmission, thereby allowing us to speculate whether additional protective measures are required to combat the zoonotic coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1654(1998100)8:4<187::AID-RMV221>3.0.CO;2-S] [PMID: 10398508]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.1291] [PMID: 32232433]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30193-4] [PMID: 32386571]