HomeOphthalmologyOphthalmology NewsAre the first indicators of COVID-19 observed in the retina?

Are the first indicators of COVID-19 observed in the retina?

A crew of investigators has discovered that the retina might supply indicators of potential COVID-19 infection earlier than they seem in different elements of the physique.

Investigators from Singapore National Eye Centre in Singapore reported that the retina might present indicators of COVID-19 an infection even earlier than they seem in the remainder of the physique.

The researchers theorized that “the retinal microvascular indicators might result from cardiovascular and thrombotic alterations related to COVID-19 an infection.”


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According to Ian Yeo, MBBS, FRCS, corresponding creator, the group performed a potential cross-sectional study1 through which patients have been included who examined optimistic for COVID-19 by nasopharyngeal swab, with no medical historical past.

The patients then underwent retinal imaging utilizing optical coherence tomography (OCT) that offered color fundus images (CFP) and macular scans.

A complete of 108 patients (216 eyes; imply age, 36.0±5.4 years) have been included. Of those 41 (38.0%) patients had an acute respiratory infection after they offered.

Concerning the retinal findings, the authors reported that 25 (11.6%) eyes had retinal indicators within the CFP and/or OCT photographs.

9 patients had bilateral retinal findings that included 8 eyes (3.7%) with microhemorrhages, 6 eyes (2.8%) with retinal vascular tortuosity, and a pair of eyes (0.93%) with cotton wool spots.

OCT confirmed hyperreflective plaques in 11 (5.1%) eyes within the ganglion cell layer, and a pair of those eyes additionally had retinal indicators on the CFP (cotton wool spots and microhemorrhages, respectively).

The investigators additionally didn’t observe vital (p = 0.227) variations within the prevalence charges of the retinal indicators between symptomatic patients and those that weren’t. Nevertheless, the patients with retinal indicators have been “considerably extra more likely to have transiently elevated blood strain than those without (p = 0.03).”


1. Sim R, Cheung G, Ting D, et al. Retinal microvascular signs in COVID-19. Br J Ophthalmology 2021; http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjophthalmol-2020-318236

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