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Cornea and External Disease

COVID infection may be associated with dry eye disease

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Individuals presenting with respiratory symptoms at a University hospital who had PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection had higher Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores than those who tested negative for infection, according to a presentation at ARVO 2022. In addition, the severity of respiratory symptoms amongst those with COVID-19 appeared to increase DED symptoms.

 In this prospective observational clinical study, 113 patients with respiratory symptoms who underwent nasal swab PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 detection were included, of which 62 (55%) had laboratory-confirmed COVID -19.

Most patients (73.4%) were female and there was a mean age of 36 years. Smoking (23%), obesity (3.5%), and hypertension (1.76%) were the main systemic comorbidities. The mean OSDI score was 13.85 in patients with COVID-19 and 5.37 in the PCR negative group (P = 0.002).

The following are OSDI subsections mean scores for visual-related function (category A), ocular symptoms (category B), and environmental triggers (category C)

COVID-19 positive group
Category A: 3.50
Category B: 1.05
Category C: 2.13

PCR negative group
Category A: 1.41
Category B: 0.39
Category C: 0.80

Patients with COVID-19 who required hospitalization had higher OSDI scores than patients with COVID-19 treated at home (P = 0.052).

Vale I, et al. Evaluation of dry eye disease after COVID-19 infection. Presented at: ARVO 2022.