Recently, a new study conducted by researchers from the French Society of Neuroradiology looks further at the impact of severe coronavirus infection on the eye health of patients and concludes that the associated effects may not be limited to minor issues as suggested by other reports.
Previously, studies have only found that people with the infection can develop minor eye problems such as conjunctivitis or itching in the eyes. In either of the cases, medical help is typically not required as the problems clear on their own.
However, the findings of the recent investigation, whose findings are published in the journal Radiology highlight a much bigger concern.
In the study, the researchers looked at one hundred and twenty-nine people who had recovered from the coronavirus infection. All of these participants underwent MRI scans. Using the results of the scans, the researchers found that seven percent of nine out of the total number of participants had eye complications.
More precisely, the MRI scans showed that some participants had nodules at the back of their eyes. Nodule formation in the eyes has not been reported by healthcare providers before and is a completely new revelation.
According to the researchers in the study, nodule formation can be the result of a number of factors. For instance, coronavirus infection is known to increase inflammation in the body including the eyes.
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Secondly, eight out of the nine patients with nodules also stayed in ICUs during their treatment. In ICUs, the patient is usually kept in the same position the entire time. This can cause problems in drainage of the veins around the eyes, thereby worsening the inflammation and leading to the development of nodules.
For patients with coronavirus infection, this is likely to happen as the average time in the ICU is two weeks or even more in some cases.
Thirdly, the researchers also noticed that all nine participants had different existent diseases that may have been contributing factors. Two patients had hypertension, six patients had obesity, and two had diabetes.
All three of these conditions can not only increase the risk of having a severe infection overall but also life-threatening post-recovery complications. The formation of nodules may also be linked to these medical issues.
At the moment, the exact cause of nodules in the eyes is unclear as further research is needed. Additionally, their long-term impact on eye health is also unclear. They may not be harmful or may lead to irreversible changes including vision loss.
Therefore, scans including fundoscopy and MRIs post-recovery are recommended. In case nodules are diagnosed in the eyes, consult a doctor for treatment on time. Keep in mind that nodular developments in the eyes have been known to cause blindness before and should be taken seriously.
As mentioned before, minor effects of the infection such as eye itch, strain, or conjunctivitis are not as harmful and mostly do not require medical attention. In the case of nodules, make sure to get treatment for avoiding any other complications.