A study revealed that the tears of COVID-19 patients could be a source of spreading novel coronavirus infection, however, the respiratory droplets remain the primary source of the infection.
The study was published by the Government Medical College in Amritsar on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears of positive patients with and without ‘ocular manifestation’, an ophthalmological condition that directly or indirectly is caused by a disease in another part of the body and sometimes the first visible symptom, based on a sample size of 120.
The Indian media reports said that 60 had ocular manifestations and 60 did not out of the 120 Covid-positive patients.
The researchers found conjunctival hyperemia in 41 patients, the follicular reaction in 38, chemosis in 35, mucoid discharge in 20 patients, and itching in 11. About 37 per cent of patients with ocular symptoms had moderate Covid-19 infection, the remaining 63 per cent had a severe infection.
The report said, “About 17.5 per cent of patients who under evaluation for RT-PCR of tears were positive for Covid-19 out of which 11 patients (9.16 per cent) had ocular manifestations and 10 (8.33 per cent) did not have any ocular complaint, pointing out that coronavirus infected patients can shed the infection in conjunctival secretions even in the absence of ocular involvement.”
Following the study, the ophthalmologists were urged to exercise more caution and maintain distance from the patients while examining them.