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Apr 4, 2020

COVID-19 and Your Eyes

We presented our Medical Director at the Macular Degeneration Association, Dr. Joshua Mali, a renowned retina specialist in Sarasota, Florida with several questions from patients, caregivers and family members about COVID-19 and the eye.

Below are these questions and his response.

1. Can COVID-19 have an effect on macular degeneration?

No, COVID-19 does not have a direct effect on macular degeneration.

2. I’ve heard that COVID-19 can be in my tears, is this true? Can I infect people if my tears come in contact with them?

This is controversial, recent small studies have indicated the virus is not present in tears of COVID-19 patients. However, one thing that is certain, it can be transmitted by aerosol contact with the conjunctiva of the eyes.

3. If you have conjunctivitis can the COVID-19 virus be present in the infection? 

Most viruses (including COVID-19) can cause a viral conjunctivitis although it appears to be a relatively uncommon symptom of COVID-19. 

4. If I have conjunctivitis how do I know that it is from COVID-19? If so, can I spread it to my loved ones?

The only way to know for certain it is from COVID-19 is to make an appointment with your healthcare professional for evaluation and management.

5. If I have conjunctivitis and it is determined that it was caused by COVID-19 does that mean that I will have full blown COVID-19? 

Patients are having a variable response to COVID-19, so consult your healthcare professional to determine your individual risks.

6. If I have wet macular degeneration and have an eye injection appointment scheduled soon should I keep my appointment? Also, could I get COVID-19 virus from having an eye injection? 

If you are receiving eye injections for a sight threatening condition like wet age-related macular degeneration, then I recommend contacting your retina specialist to determine your best course of action. Every patient is unique and has different circumstances, it is important to have this discussion with your doctor. 

We hope to have answered some of your questions and increased your understanding about COVID-19 and your eyes. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and stay safe.


The Macular Degeneration Association

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