Take care of your eyes in a pandemic

The ophthalmic symptoms that may occur in the course of COVID-19 infection are:

  • eye pain
  • photophobia
  • tearing
  • foreign body sensation
  • red eye syndrome
  • subconjunctival ecchymosis
  • subconjunctival hemorrhages
  • blurred vision
  • viral conjunctivitis

Fortunately, contrary to preliminary assumptions, the COVID-19 pandemic did not turn out to be very virulent for the eyes. Despite the rare occurrence of ophthalmic complications of COVID-19 viral infection, it should be emphasized that the most common adverse ophthalmic consequence of the pandemic is the exacerbation of dryness of the eye surface. This symptom is the result of the accumulation of several factors, including prolonged stay at home and in front of the computer, stress, fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression and, above all, chronic use of protective masks – the adverse effect of the air exhaled from the nose and mouth on the surface of the eye and increased tear evaporation from the surface of the eye. Recently, a new disease entity was created, called by the acronym MADE – mask associated dry eye. Therefore, just wearing a protective mask can cause ophthalmological problems, such as excessive eye dryness and increased susceptibility to bacterial infection. Remember, if you are in the active phase of coronavirus infection or have recently had contact with someone infected with the virus, you may present the ophthalmological symptoms listed above and you should have an ophthalmological control.


Regularly, replace the mask with a new one and wash your face with an appropriate soap for your face to reduce the amount of bacteria and microorganisms on the skin. If you do not need to wear a face mask, do not wear it, but if you do have to wear it, keep the mask to a minimum.

In case of severe dry eye, reach for moisturizing drops or artificial tears, and in case of worsening symptoms or other disturbing symptoms, seek an ophthalmological check-up.

Remember that frequent hand washing and disinfection are basic steps in the prevention of COVID infection, including ophthalmic infection.

Slide Dr Krzysztof Mika, MD, PhD
Eye specialist doctor FMH
Eye surgeon FMH
Fellow European Board of Ophthalmology

Chemin des Colombettes 12
1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Tel. +41 (0) 22 733 64 46
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