A possible link between COVID-19 and endophthalmitis has been suspected for quite some time; now, researchers have established a connection between the two diseases, with a further investigation being conducted.
In only two months, three COVID-19 patients in New York’s Northwell Health Hospital succumbed to extreme vision loss from keratitis. Endophthalmitis resulted, and in one instance, a patient’s eye was removed. This occurrence of keratitis leading to endophthalmitis is exceedingly rare. Typically, cases of endophthalmitis from keratitis are associated with trauma or surgery.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2020 virtual conference released the findings. Researchers hope to gain more support from the medical community to conduct eye evaluations when assessing the role of anti-infectious treatments.
All three endophthalmitis patients were in their 60s, reside in the same relative area, and showed signs of the disease within a two-month period, while testing positive for COVID-19. Two were outpatients, and one was an in-patient at the time of diagnosis. One of the outpatients later passed away in a hospital. The culture results all came back from each individual with different organisms: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens, and Candida parapsilosis.
A 2012 study reported that out of 9,934 eyes, only 27 throughout a 15-year period experienced endophthalmitis stemming from keratitis. Having three patients express symptoms while being diagnosed with COVID-19 is alarming, and suggests an association between the two.
Sonal S. Tuli, MD, said, “The findings do not suggest that COVID-19 causes endophthalmitis but that there is some relationship between the two. It is possible that some aspect of the health of these individuals made them more liable to get infected with COVID-19 as well as a severe infection in their eye, such as poor immune system or nutritional deficiencies. It is also possible that these findings are incidental because of the large numbers of COVID-positive patients presenting to New York hospitals during the peak of the pandemic.”
For further reading, refer to the article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. To schedule an eye exam, contact the experts at Rohr Eye & Laser Center today.
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