Contributed by: Rachana Arya
There has been a lot of information about lingering symptoms in the period of recovery following COVID-19. People talk about how it affects their mental health, breathing, and sleeplessness. Brain fog, memory issues, and muscle pains are common complaints. However, there is little mention of how it can have a lingering impact on your vision, or the requirement for an eye check once you recover from the virus.
Symptoms to watch out for
- redness in eyes
- blurred vision
- sensitivity to light
A possible explanation offered for this phenomenon is that the medication and steroids administered to mitigate complications in lung and other organs can be at risk of developing steroid-related ocular toxicities.
Therefore, patients who have recovered from the illness, with moderate to severe symptoms and had been treated with steroids should watch out for vision-related issues during the initial weeks. The occurrence of post-viral ocular pathology complicates recovery from COVID-19. So it is important to make sure you get your eyes tested within three to four weeks after COVID has resolved. It is a crucial part of taking care of yourself and getting back to who you were.
Eye abnormalities faced post-recovery
The first — and more common problem — is a temporary loss of vision due to the probable weakening of muscles. After the infection, the body muscles do not have enough energy to function, which causes the eye muscles to weaken and vision to blur. This is a less serious issue, and patients normally recover and regain their vision once their bodies are able to mend and provide enough food for the muscles to function.
The second issue is the most serious. It is called central retinal artery occlusion or ‘vascular obstruction’ by ophthalmologists. It refers to constriction or obstruction of a blood vessel, usually with a clot.
Another serious complication that may arise is a retinal vascular disease in which the retina is injured due to irregular blood flow or swelling of the retina. This could result in partial or complete vision impairment. Its most common symptom is blurring of vision. So, patients who have recovered from COVID and have been treated with steroids for lung problems should be on the lookout for these symptoms in the first few weeks.
The new complication in the battle against the prevailing Coronavirus is that of Black Fungus aka Mucormycosis. It is a threat to sight and even life. It often appears with nonspecific symptoms, making early diagnosis challenging. Early symptoms include eye swelling, severe headache, or visual changes like double vision. When indicators of orbital apex involvement appear, it’s typically too late to save the patient’s vision, let alone his or her eye or life.
Keep in mind, not everyone who has recovered from COVID-19 needs to worry about eye abnormalities in the aftermath of a Covid infection. That said, it is important that Covid-recovered patients keep a check to ensure good health of their eyes without worrying too much about losing eyesight as a side-effect of Covid. Early intervention and timely treatment are of the essence and can go a long way in ensuring good health for the eyes.
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