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COVID-19 could impact a person's vision

Eye
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 21:21:45-05

Sore throat, dry cough, and fever are the most obvious signs of COVID-19.

However, the Mayo Clinic's website lists several unusual symptoms including gastrointestinal issues, changes to the skin, confusion and eye problems.

“There’s several side effects on the eyes related to both inflammation and to the oxygen shortage that may occur for the people that have issues with their breathing temporarily during the symptoms,” said Dr. Bob Layman, president of the American Optometric Association.

Some people's eyes stop focusing correctly when they have COVID-19.

Layman says people's vision usually returns to normal within a few days or weeks. If it doesn't, he recommends asking an eye doctor about vision therapy.

“If they don’t like to converge easily and we need good convergence to look at our phones and to work on electronic devices for a living, then that could be enhanced by a variety of methods that are both done in the office and at home as sort of a therapy exercise, not unlike physical therapy,” said Layman.

There’s not a lot of data or studies on the more rare side effects.

“I mean there’s chest pain and shortness of breath. I’ve had some people complain about toe, toe pain. But you know, it’s nothing to hang my hat on because we haven’t quantified that data,” said Bhakti Hansoti a professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Hansoti notes that there is a lot to be concerned about with how little is still known about the virus and how it impacts people, especially as it surges.

“I think a lot of research needs to be done in this space and I think we need to be ready, right? We need to be ready to support those people who have these complications,” she said.