Ocular tissues and secretions and COVID-19 (literature published up to 5 April 2020)

Added July 20, 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.


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