Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Coronavirus and the current scenario

Conjunctivitis, often referred to as "pink eyes" is an inflammation of the eyeball

Published: May 15, 2020 01:33:10 PM IST
Updated: May 15, 2020 01:35:54 PM IST

Coronavirus and the current scenario

Due to the spread of COVID-19 across the world, the American Academy of Ophthalmology shared specific information that is closely related to Coronavirus. The virus is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is highly contagious and can cause a severe respiratory disease named COVID-19.

How Does The Transmission Take Place?

The transmission spreads from one person to another by the respiratory droplets of the infected one. If the person carrying the virus sneezes and coughs, the droplets may reach the other persons in close surroundings. Moreover, it might spread when one comes in contact with the surface, later touches his eyes, nose or mouth, where the virus already exists from an infected individual.

The growing number of evidence suggests that asymptomatic transmission is another reason for spreading the disease. There is a high possibility that the disease will spread from an infected person to the family members. In almost half of such transmissions that came out to be positive were asymptomatic on the first day of the test.

Those “undocumented infections” (asymptomatic or symptomatic) unable to fulfill the testing criteria are gradually becoming more in counts than those who have been tested positive.

The average duration of the viral shedding is twenty days and observed thirty-seven days as the maximum duration. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in China, has warned before about this coronavirus outbreak. He died of it, affirming that a patient of asymptomatic glaucoma infected him.

Another major reason is environmental contamination. In a study, the scientists detect that the virus can survive up to 3 hours in aerosols in an experimental setup, up to 24 hours on cardboard, approx 4 hours on copper. It survives up to 2-3 days on stainless steel and plastic, which is a concerning issue as the use of these two materials are quite common in our daily lives.

According to a report on the cruise ship outbreak, it has been identified on various surfaces of the affected passenger’s cabin up to 17 days after disembarkation.   

The Ophthalmologists Must Be Aware Of the Following Information

COVID -19 affected people would have these symptoms like conjunctivitis, fever, and respiratory issues like breathing trouble. A person could have these issues either because he has traveled in affected regions or came in contact with the people having COVID-19.

Several reports are claiming that COVID-19 patient could have mild follicular conjunctivitis; otherwise, they are quite similar to ordinary viral cases.

The Academy officials recommend protection from mouth, nose, and eye when treating the COVID-19 infected patients.

The alcohol and bleach-based disinfectants utilized for disinfecting the instruments of ophthalmology and office furniture can eradicate the virus. To prevent transmission in the office or to other patients in the hospital, disinfection practices are essential.   

Precautions Everyone Must Follow

  • Don’t touch your mouth, eyes or nose with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer for 20-30 seconds.
  • Maintain a distance of 3 feet or 1 meter from an infected person having fever, cough, and cold.

It Is Closely Related To Eyes   

Conjunctivitis, often referred to as “pink eyes” is an inflammation of the eyeball. Viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. If you see these symptoms contact the nearest Eye care centers.

Experts like Dr. Rahil Chaudhary from Eye7 Chaudhary Eye Centre, considered as the best eye hospital in Delhi , is offering free online consultation for a limited time in this pandemic. Eye7 is one of the very few hospitals that offer various super specialty eye care treatments besides COVID-19 update online consultation via video call.

So whether you live in Delhi or any other city in India, if you feel any inflammation in the eyeball or any other problem in your eyes, you can contact your nearest ophthalmologist or get an online consultation.

Vaccines and Treatment Procedure

There is no vaccine for the disease so far. Two drugs, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine, approved for malaria and autoimmune disorder respectively, have shown optimistic results.

However, more study is needed to clarify safety and efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19. In a guideline published on both of these drugs, it is shown that they are safe for long term therapy even with a maximum number of doses. So, what you need right now is to be safe and healthy and if you have the slightest problem, get in touch with the hospital.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.