The first case of COVID reported was by an eye doctor in Wuhan China. While COVID is a respiratory disease there are many eye conditions where the effects of Covid may be seen.
One of the complications of COVID is the presence of occurrence of blood clots. These blood clots can be found in small medium as well as big blood vessels that is why AI in treatment of Covid doctors usually add on an anti-clotting medicine.
As far as the eyes are concerned tiny blood clots may be found in the retina which is the tissue at the back of the eyeball. The patients may or may not notice this. If noticed, the patient may find that the vision in one eye is a bit less or substantially less. In such a situation it is important that the patient reaches his nearest eye doctor at the earliest for proper treatment.
Another side effect of Covid on the eye maybe inflammation of the inner parts of the eye called uveitis and retinitis. It must be remembered that these are rare conditions. Covid generally affects the lungs and to a lesser extent the gastrointestinal system.
The role of steroids is very Central to the treatment of Covid complications. While in the initial stages of viral Covid infection the steroids can play very harmful role, especially in the first week of the disease, the same steroid medications can be lifesaving to the patient in the presence of a complication called cytokines storm. Hence it is very important that steroids which are life savers should be taken strictly under the direction of a doctor say’s Dr Ram Srikanth Mirlay, Regional Head – Clinical Services, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Bangalore.
The topic of black fungus is very prominent now a days. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that does not affect most normal people. It affects very few people and is an extremely rare disorder even today. However, after Covid infection one category of patients are at higher risk for the Black fungus. These are patients who have suffered severe lung damage and as a result would have breathe oxygen through the nasal tubes. Those patients on ventilators and those who have taken steroid tablets and those who’s diabetes is not well controlled only such patients who have all three above listed conditions in them are at increased risk of black fungus.
One need not fear or spread panic with respect to this fungal infection. It is important and adequate that patients who have any pain or trouble in their eyes or sinus or central nervous system visit their family doctor very early with their symptoms and make sure that all is well.
Compared to the total number of non-Covid patients along with Covid patients not known to the government the percentage incidence of black fungus is extremely low. While statistics are not easily available on this topic, it is my guess of estimate that the incidents of black fungus is less than 0.01 percentage.
So as a country and as people we await for the pandemic to subside, it is sufficient if we be alert follow all the safety guidelines and keep in close touch with your family doctor at the beginning of any unusual or abnormal symptoms.
By Dr Ram Srikanth Mirlay, Regional Head – Clinical Services, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Bangalore.
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