WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A recent study from the Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research in Ohio revealed that traces of the coronavirus were found in the eyeballs of 10 donors who died after getting infected.
- According to the study author Onkar B. Sawant, small but significant amounts of the virus was detected in the surface areas of the eyes as well as in the tissues covering the inner surfaces of the eyelids.
- Sawant told Newsweek that the new study could bring doctors and patients up to date regarding the risks involved especially during eye donation and transplantation.
Evidence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was uncovered from the eyeballs of donors who died from the coronavirus disease, a new study suggests.
In this month’s medRxiv report, the 10 pairs of eyes recovered from the autopsies of 10 people who tested positive had small but notable traces of SARS-CoV-2 in the posterior and anterior corneal, which are the surface areas of the eyes.
Scientists of the Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research in Eversight, Ohio, also noted that the virus existed in the infected donor’s conjunctival — the clear, thin membrane that covers the front surface of the eye as well as the inside surface of the eyelids.
The study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, could provide enlightenment to ophthalmologists and those involved in eye tissue donation and cornea transplantation about the risks of the virus.
“Our primary motivator is to ensure safe tissue for our surgeons and their patients,” study lead author told Newsweek.
The second motivator, added Sawant, is to learn as much as they can about the virus so they can start saving and protecting lives.
Although the University of Bristol, UK, ophthalmology expert Denize Atan, who was not involved in the research, recommended additional research be done about the possibility of the virus being spread from the eyes, he said the findings from the autopsies had determined its presence there.
“It does highlight the fact that the surface layers of the eye and tears are a possible route for transmission of the virus,” said Atan, adding that it’s possible that the virus could come from the inner tissues of the eyes.
Source: New York Post