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Nov 18, 2021

COVID Chronicles: Even Your Eyes Can Be Affected By COVID-19

We already know that the dreaded COVID virus can cost people their lives and leave long-lasting effects. Since the disease has ravaged so many of our people, we’ve heard about the effects on the main organs like the lungs and the heart; but did you know that COVID can also impact your vision? Here’s News Five’s Marion Ali with some interesting facts about COVID and your sight.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The eyes can suffer long-term complications caused by COVID-19, but luckily, there aren’t a large number of patients who suffer from these conditions. Ophthalmologist, Dr. Amin Hegar shared with News Five this week one of the most serious eye conditions that the virus causes. Diabetics in particular need to pay keen attention because they are the most vulnerable to developing the condition.


Dr. Amin Hegar, Ophthalmologist

Dr. Amin Hegar

“COVID, like other diseases which cause inflammation, can create inflammation of the optic nerve. (Using model) This is the optic nerve of the eye. This is the retina – because it is inflammation of this nerve, the optic nerve and the vision, the patient loses vision. It could have long-term effects of course if it bled, if it obstructed the arteries, the vein, yes they can have permanent loss of vision.

As you know, with COVID, you have these clots in all parts of the body, in the brain; so does it in the little arteries of the eye.”

Hegar advises COVID patients who start to experience blurry vision to consult with an eye doctor as soon as possible so that they can begin to treat the problem. The eye specialist said that COVID can also cause patients to suffer from less severe but sometimes painful or itchy eye conditions like conjunctivitis. But luckily, it can be treated from home with a little advice and some prescription medication.


Dr Amin Hegar

“The conjunctiva gets red – the white part of the eye – and give you what we call conjunctivitis or pink eye, if it’s the viral (condition) we call it pink eye; and runny eyes. They can also have glare problems with the symptoms of COVID. Not too many people with conjunctivitis with COVID-19 visit the ophthalmologist – very few, for obvious reasons, noh. You have COVID-19, you go and isolate yourself. They would call me and say “Doc, my eyes are itching. Their eyes, itch, burn, irritate. What can I do? Just use some antibiotics and some anti-allergic eye drops.”

Interestingly, the  pandemic has not affected his business, Hegar said, but with that blessing came the need for people in his profession to abide by strict safety precautions because of the nature of their work.


Dr. Amin Hegar

“We are the most – the closest frontliners, more than the internists and the other doctors because they just touch you from afar and put the nurse to treat the symptoms. I try to use double masks as much as possible – an N95 and this surgical mask on top. And of course, it’s important that the patients and myself don’t touch the eyes. I sanitize all the equipment there, here, all this and up there between patients because the patients can be bringing it, noh.”

There are also protocols that patients must adhere to at Hegar’s eye clinic.


Dr. Amin Hegar

“Patients have to come as much as possible without symptoms, noh. No fever, we take your temperature, and we tell them to sanitize, and not to touch the furniture or anything as much as possible. If they have fever, of course they can’t come in until they rule out that it’s not COVID. If they have cough, the same. And once they come in here, I tell them not to remove the mask as all, not to eat in here because if they start to eat they remove the mask and they spread the virus.”


We hope that this edition of COVID Chronicles helps to educate people about how the disease can affect our vision and what to do if COVID begins to affect your eyes or vision in any way.


Marion Ali reporting for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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