Can Covid Patients Have Vision Loss After Healing? An expert explains

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As we reach what appears to be the end of the second deadly wave of Covid-19 in India, several recovering patients stare at a long period of treatment for persistent symptoms – now defined as ‘long Covid’ by doctors. In light of the situation, News18 will air a 15-day ‘Decoding Long Covid’ series where doctors of different specialties will address concerns, recommend ways to deal with them, and suggest when to seek help.

In today’s column, Dr Vanuli Bajpai, Consultant – Ophthalmology, HCMCT at Manipal Hospitals Delhi talks about long-term visual recovery and explains why some patients may also have vision loss from Covid-19 .

Although the eyes are not often affected during or after a Covid-19 infection, there are symptoms like conjunctivitis that are seen in Covid-19 patients. Very few patients can have long-term eye damage. Dr Bajpai told News18 in an interview: “The most common symptoms during Covid are conjunctivitis, which is quickly resolved with medication. However, in a few cases the retina and vessels in the retina have been affected. , leading to a decrease in long-term vision. “

“Blockage of the retinal veins or arteries supplying the retina can cause vision loss and requires treatment. Long-term visual recovery in these cases is variable, ranging from complete recovery to significant visual loss, ”the doctor said.

Another eye hazard is mucormycosis, or black fungus, which has been observed in several Covid patients. Bajpai pointed out that rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis (ROCM) is a devastating emerging complication in Covid patients, especially those with diabetes mellitus, who were undergoing corticosteroid therapy. ROCM is a serious and fatal fungal infection. It is an infection of the nose and sinuses with fungi, which can spread to the orbit (the bone cage in which the eye is housed) and its structures.

“Mucormycosis is a fatal disease if it spreads to the brain. It is also a sight threatening disease that requires long-term antifungal treatment for months and may require radical surgery in a few cases. Eye surgery, if necessary, can be quite disfiguring and requires the complete removal of the involved eye as well as its surrounding structures, ”Bajpai said.

Therefore, the doctor said, the treatment can have a lasting impact on the patient’s physical and mental well-being and requires prosthetic rehabilitation once the disease has been fully eradicated from the body, which can take several months.

“Patients who are recovering from Covid, especially if they have diabetes, should be made aware of the common symptoms of mucormycosis, namely, nasal congestion, runny nose, foul odor, nosebleed, swelling around the eyes or on the chest. face, blurred vision, double vision, change in skin color around eyes / nose / face, pain around nose / eyes / face. If these patients exhibit any of the above symptoms, they should immediately contact their doctor, who may advise referring them to an ENT specialist or ophthalmologist if necessary for further treatment, ”Bajpai added.

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