There could be another symptom of possible coronavirus infection, according to health officials.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology published an updated alert Tuesday warning that pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, could be a symptom of the coronavirus, which health officials believe pink eye develops in 1-3% of patients with COVID-19.
“If you see someone with pink eye, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean that person is infected with coronavirus,” the organization wrote in a post on March 10.
In a separate study published online in the journal Ophthalmology Wednesday, the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that the risk of the virus’ transmission through tears is low. Ivan Seah, MBBS, and colleagues at the National University Hospital in Singapore gathered up tear samples from nearly two dozen patients with the coronavirus from when they were first infected until they recovered 20 days later.
Through viral culture and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, the researchers determined that the virus was not detected over the two-week course when patients had the infection. They discovered that noses and throats did have samples of COVID-19.
“When a sick person coughs or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face. You’re most likely to inhale these droplets through your mouth or nose, but they can also enter through your eyes.”
Researchers also warned that people can become infected by touching something that the virus lives on – such as a table or doorknob – and then touching your eyes.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough, according to the World Health Organization. In severe cases, difficult breathing was identified as a symptom. WHO warned that older people and others with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease may be more likely to become severely ill from the coronavirus.