This pandemic continues to change the way the world operates. We continue to see emergency approval for vaccines as they distribute through out the country. There are so many worries with coronavirus vaccines. We wanted to look specifically into vision.
As you may know, COVID-19 can cause vision issues. This can be due to enlarged red blood vessels, which can create issues in the eye due to the small blood vessels. Swollen eye lids. Excessive watering and increased discharge. Additionally, infections or conjunctivitis (pink eye).
The eyes are one of the most sensitive part of our bodies. It is no surprise vision is susceptible to any virus. This virus is still new and more research studies are the only way to verify COVID-19’s effect on vision. Specifically looking into ocular transmission of the disease. The surface of the eyes and lids are lined by mucous, therefore infected droplets can land in your eye and possibly make you susceptible to any infection.
This is not just COVID-19, but all infections. Although it is believed it can be transmitted through the eyes, the research is showing it is more spread from droplets person-to person. For example, having close contact with someone who is infected and their infected droplets from speaking, coughing, sneezing, etc. land in or on your body finding their way to your mouth or nose leading to infection. Studies currently show only a handful of COIVD-19 detected in tear droplets, but again this needs more research for a factual conclusion.
Research does not lead us to believe washing your eyes can decrease infection rates. Your eyes have a natural cleansing system and over washing can change natural lubrication for the eye. The best way is to wash your hands.
Additionally, research is not showing COIVD-19 can permanently damage vision. So there is some good news regarding vision and COIVD-19. As we continue to see strains and research, this may change, but for now we are optimistic.
You may have been reading our articles and already know some of the information regarding vision and COVID-19. What we have not talked about is the vaccine and vision. We now want to look at what we know so far, and what the studies are showing.
The side effects of any vaccine can be alarming. Specifically, COVID-19 vaccination. As we continue to fight the novel disease, we continue to learn more about it. This vaccine, which has emergency approval, is still being studied. Although, it seems the side effects are not as severe as the disease, we want to look at all the side effects and if they can attack your vision.
The most common side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine is arm pain or swelling at injection site. Some are saying woman have a tendency to have a greater reaction to this then men, but again the research is still young. Secondly, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache can all be side effects from the vaccine.
What we can tell you – the side effects aren’t stopping us from going in to get vaccinated. Many staff members in our field are thinking along the same lines. Dr. William Culbertson, a professor at the Bacom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami said that ophthalmologists and staff started receiving vaccines as early as December 15, 2020.
What we do know is evidence is showing, especially in children, an increase in conjunctivitis, eye pain, and eye swelling associated with COVID-19. The good news about the COVID vaccine? It is not showing a negative effect on vision. Therefor, with the data we have now, it seems that the COVID-19 vaccine has little to no effects to vision while the actual disease can create infections in the eye.
There are several other vaccines that have seen connections to vision issues. Even the flu vaccine can crate temporary mild symptoms such as redness, pain and blurry vision.
What does all this mean? We are relieved to say that currently there is no evidence related to vision stopping people from getting vaccinated.