The novel coronavirus spreads from human to human. When a COVID-19 patient coughs or sneezes, it generates virus-loaded droplets in the air which may enter your lungs as you breathe. The other common possibility of transmission occurs when you touch a contaminated surface and put your hands on your mouth, nose and eyes. While much importance has been given to transmission through mouth and nose via hands, very little has been discussed about the eyes. They can also be an entry point for the novel coronavirus if you rub your eyes with your fingers after touching a surface which has this virus.
Researchers at John Hopkins institute asserts with certainty that the infection surely can spread through eyes.The membrane that covers the eyelids is the same as the tissue which covers nasal passages.Like your nasal passage, the front of your eyes can be exposed to it if you are close proximity to an infected patient when he coughs or sneezes. Moreover, your eyes can be vulnerable to the virus if you rub them after touching a contaminated surface.
The scientists at John Hopkins University institute for bio medical research found the presence of ACE2 receptors in eye membrane.The ACE2 receptors provide an entry pass for the nCov2 virus to the human tissue.They also confirmed that eye’s surface cells produce an enzyme that helps in the entry of of the virus.These are taken as enough evidence by the researchers that eyes are potential entry point for the Covid virus.
The medical data gathered from all over the world also links Conjunctivitis-an eye infection which was reported in pateints before they were tested Covid positive.However the virus seems to prefer the mouth and nasal passage as a favourite entry point than the eyes.
The quick reaction time of the eyelids makes it tougher for the virus to land directly on the surface of eye membrane.Even if sneeze droplets somehow land in to the eye,the virus has to first reach the nasal cavity through the tear glands and from their to the lungs, for infecting a potential host.Unless you are a health care worker,you don’t need to use protective eye gear. But you may need to be extra cautious while you are in a crowded public place.
Here are some eye protective measures for these conditions:
1 Wear glasses instead of contact lenses.Contact lenses prompt you to touch your more often
2 Maintain high hygeine if wearing contact lenses.
3 Wear a face shield if you are health care worker.Saftey goggles are also effective when you are at crowded place and will protect your eyes from the top, bottom and the sides. A normal glass will not give you an all-round protection.