Will you need to go to the beach with your visor over your eyes to protect yourself from coronavirus infection? better to abandon contact lenses this summer? Should we suspect the infection as soon as the eyes turn red? The ophthalmologists of the Italian Ophthalmological Society (www.sedesoi.com) answer these and other questions during the virtual national congress, first of all underlining a recommendation: those who have skipped eye checks or scheduled interventions during the lockdown must contact their doctor, because in in some cases, having missed visits may have impaired vision.
After the lockdown
During the confinement at home, we estimate that around 250 thousand surgeries and over 3.5 million eye examinations have been skipped, plus access to the emergency room for retinal detachments fell by 90 percent – reports Matteo Piovella, SOI president -. In some cases direct damage, for example in those who have had a retinal detachment and have not been treated or in patients who have not undergone intravitreal injections for an ocular pathology and therefore may have had a worsening vision; the same applies to those who should have remodeled their therapies, while in other cases the absence of controls may have postponed the finding of problems. Many interventions were also postponed: most of the ophthalmological operations not in urgency, but for the health of the eyes it is advisable that the patients return to the doctor as soon as possible, with the utmost confidence. In the ophthalmological centers all the necessary procedures are in place to avoid the infections and the SOI has just issued the guidelines for the management of the accesses, from the selection questions before the arrival in the studio to verify if there is a risk of positivity precautions during visits, from the abolition of waiting times to the sanitization of equipment between one patient and the next.
S, therefore, to the resumption of the usual checks but also to a greater attention to eye health: this summer we will have to live with the virus still in circulation and the eyes are a target of the virus, which can also occur with conjunctivitis, as well as a front door for contagion. Does that mean we have to go to the beach with visors? The masks are the main protection device, useful to avoid contact with the droplets which are the main vehicle of the virus – replies Piovella -. What matters most is not to actually touch your eyes with hands that may have come into contact with the virus: yes to sunglasses, to protect your eyes from the rays on the beach, and yes to eyeglasses. Which in this period should be preferred to contact lenses, if they manage to adequately correct the visual defect: the lenses are inevitably manipulated and whoever wants to wear them, therefore, must be careful to wash your hands very well and choose disposable lenses. Also, be careful to touch contact lenses or eyes with clean hands with alcohol-based sanitizing gels, they are very irritating products. Conjunctivitis one of the symptoms of Covid-19 in a small percentage of patients, how to distinguish it from other conjunctivitis? Bacterial conjunctivitis are almost always borne by both eyes and cause the characteristic sticky secretion that almost prevents you from opening your eyes in the morning, allergic ones are bilateral, they make you water and generally they are recurrent – explains Piovella -. Viral conjunctivitis, on the other hand, can be one-eyed and there is usually little tearing; difficult to distinguish if it is SARS-CoV-2 or another virus, so in case of conjunctivitis, it is best to be visited as soon as possible to understand the reason.
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