Ocular tissues and secretions and COVID-19 (literature published up to 5 April 2020)
Citation: Aiello F, Afflitto GG, Mancino R, Li JP, Cesareo M, Giannini C, Nucci C. Coronavirus disease 2019 (SARS-CoV-2) and colonization of ocular tissues and secretions: a systematic review. Eye. 2020 May 18:34:1206-11.
What is this? It is important to know if the virus responsible for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) can infect or spread through the mucous membranes of the eye.
In this rapid review, the authors searched for studies on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in cornea, conjunctiva, lacrimal sac and tears to assess whether conjunctival transmission occurs. They did not restrict their searches by language of publication but limited it to articles published between December 2019 and 5 April 2020. They included 11 studies (total: 252 COVID-19 patients).
What was found: At the time of this review, the included studies showed that whether or not SARS-CoV-2 can infect ocular structures or use the lacrimal duct to reach the respiratory tract was uncertain.
At the time of this review, the included studies did not support the use of conjunctival-swab RT-PCR as a standard diagnostic test for COVID-19.
Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.
If you have found this summary helpful, please consider making a donation. If everyone who looked at our COVID-19 resources gave us just £2 per month, it would fund Evidence Aid’s life-saving work.