Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Hazel Shillingford-Ricketts, is reporting her diagnosis of a COVID-19 conjunctivitis case in Dominica.
Dr Shillingford-Ricketts made known in a Facebook post on Tuesday, that disease is the initial symptom in about 1% of COVID-19 patients, while highlighting the possibility of other cases on island.
“It is more common in males with moderate disease and females with mild disease,” she said, adding, “It presents like a red/pink eye as we call it. One or both eyes may be red…may not be associated with other symptoms and signs of COVID-19.”
Other symptoms include watery discharge, mild itch/ gritty eye sensation, mild swelling of eyelids and conjunctiva as well as mild painful lymph nodes in front of ears.
As it relates to treatment, Dr Shillingford-Ricketts reports that conjunctivitis will resolve without treatment in a week, however, a cold compress over eyes, artificial tears or eye drops like Visine, Clear eyes, Naphcon etc.. or any other non-steroid eye drops can be used.
Those experiencing symptoms are advised to stay home for at least one week or until the conjunctivitis resolves.
She further recommended to those experiencing the above symptoms to clean their eyes with clean tissue which should be properly disposed discarded immediately after use and to wash their hands with soap and clean water after touching eyes as well as to sanitize surfaces touched with 10% bleach or 70 percent alcohol.
“Do an antigen test if negative repeat in 5 days, if positive refer to Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocol,” the health professional said.
Dr Shillingford-Ricketts also warned against the use of contact lens wear and instructed symptomatic patients that they should only visit an ophthalmologist/eye specialist except if the eye pain is not controlled with the recommended treatment, if the redness last longer than a week and if vision is decreased.
Dominica News Online (DNO) has been informed that since the first diagnosis, no further cases have been reported.
A study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology that looked at several individuals with COVID-19 found that eye symptoms occurred in the middle stages of infection and were more common in people with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the clear tissue over the whites of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids. It usually leads to redness and swelling of the eyes. A viral or bacterial infection can cause it.