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Covid Eye Damage?

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Q: I am hearing that some people are developing vision problems after having Covid. Is this really one of those “long Covid” effects?

A: Unfortunately, yes. Studies now report that about 1 in 4 people after recovering from Covid….even in very mild cases….will have symptoms or problems for a long time. While most people think about losing your sense of taste or smell, the more serious effects can be very dangerous.

We are seeing patients lately, after they “recover” from Covid with vision problems. Several things can cause it, but most concerning to us are problems with the retinal tissue inside your eyes. Specifically, the central “most valuable” area of the retina is called the macula. An anomaly of the macula has now been identified as a potential long Covid effect.

These problems generally do not cause any pain or discomfort but do cause a decrease in the sharpness of your vision. Because a patient would not know if a vision change is caused by a change in vision correction versus a disorder of the retina, the best advice is to see your eye doctor right away if you notice a decrease in vision sharpness after Covid. While it appears that eye medications can help, this is poorly understood so far, and no clear “cure” has been identified.

I should add that studies show that vaccinated people tend to have milder cases of Covid and less chance of long Covid. So while we all are “tired” of Covid and masking and vaccines, the newest variant of Covid is highly contagious and is not “tired” of us! If you are eligible for a vaccine or booster, we recommend you get it. When you are around other people indoors, wearing a good mask over your mouth and nose is still sound advice.

New medications can treat Covid very well in preventing hospitalization and/or death, but we are still seeing almost 3000 deaths each week in America due to Covid. Be vigilant and stay safe.