Down with sore eyes? You could Covid-19 positive

Research suggests that sore eyes could be a symptom of Covid-19. (Rawpixel pic)

LONDON: While a fever, a dry cough and feeling more tired than usual are well known potential symptoms of Covid-19, sore eyes have not been considered a common symptom of the virus.

Now, new research from scientists in the UK suggests that this could be the most significant vision-based indicator of Covid-19.

Published in the BMJ Open Ophthalmology journal, the study investigated the various symptoms experienced by patients infected with Covid-19 to better understand how the virus travels through the body.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University analysed data from several patients with a confirmed positive diagnosis for Covid-19.

They were asked to complete a questionnaire about their symptoms and how those compared to before they tested positive.

The scientists found that sore eyes are significantly more common when patients were infected with Covid-19.

In total, 16% of the 83 respondents reported this particular eye condition as one of their symptoms.

And while 18% of people reported suffering from photophobia (light sensitivity) as one of their symptoms, the researchers point out that this only represented a 5% increase from the patients’ pre-Covid-19 states.

For sore eyes, just 5% of participants had reported having had the condition before Covid-19.

More generally, 81% of patients reported ocular issues within two weeks of other Covid-19 symptoms.

Of those, 80% reported that their eye problems lasted less than two weeks. The most common reported symptoms overall were fatigue (experienced by 90% of respondents), a fever (76%) and a dry cough (66%).

The study results help scientists better understand how the Covid-19 virus spreads through the body.

Conjunctivitis is currently included on the list of “less frequent” Covid-19 symptoms, along with headaches, muscle or body aches and skin rashes. However, sore eyes have very rarely been mentioned.