And Dr. Maragakis noted that any number of factors could confuse the data, and it may be that the use of glasses is simply linked to another variable that affects the risk of Covid-19. For example, people who wear glasses may tend to be older and more careful and more likely to stay home during a viral outbreak than those who do not wear glasses. Or maybe people who can afford glasses are less likely to get the virus for other reasons, such as To have the means to live in less crowded rooms.
“It’s a study,” said Dr. Maragakis. “It has a certain biological probability, as we use eye protection in health facilities,”
Healthcare professionals wear protective equipment over the eyes to protect them from droplets that may fly from coughing and sneezing, as well as aerosolized particles that are formed when patients undergo medical procedures, such as intubation. But for the vast majority of people, the extra level of protection is probably not necessary if a person is wearing a mask and keeping physical distance in the public space. There is also the possibility of introducing risk by wearing glasses – some people may touch their faces more when putting on glasses, rather than less, noted Dr. Maragakis.
That said, more research is needed to see if the trend holds in other research populations, says Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
“I find it provocative and it’s extremely interesting,” said Dr. Steinemann.
But Dr. Steinemann noted that the study should not cause concern among people who do not wear glasses. “It probably does not hurt to wear glasses, but does everyone need it? Probably not, ”he said. “I think you should consider the practicalities of wearing eye protection or a face shield. People in certain professions, first responders, caregivers of a person who is ill, these are people who might need special attention. ”
The results also raise interesting questions about how often the eyes can be the gateway to the virus. It has long been established that viruses and other bacteria can enter the body through the facial mucosa of the eyes, nose and mouth. But the nose appears to be a major entry point for coronavirus because it has a large number of receptors that create a friendly environment in which the virus can replicate and move down the airways.
However, doctors see a small percentage of patients with eye symptoms, including conjunctivitis or pink eye, suggesting that the virus may also be entering the body through the eyes. Although eye symptoms are less common than other symptoms such as cough or fever, various studies have reported that eye complaints may be a sign of Covid-19 infection.
Last month, researchers reported a study of 216 children hospitalized with Covid-19 in Wuhan. Among these patients, 49 children, or nearly 23 percent of cases, had eye symptoms, including conjunctival discharge, eye twisting, and conjunctival congestion. In addition to pink eyes, itchy eyes, excessive tearing, blurred vision and the feeling that something is in the eye have all been described by patients with Covid-19.