Spring is back in a very difficult time. Let's not neglect eye health!

Viral conjunctivitis is one of the symptoms of Covid-19, it is important not to confuse it with the seasonal one


Spring has arrived very early this year.

Due to the climate changes, pollen seasons have changed their natural life cycle, starting 20 days earlier and lasting 10 days longer than 30 years ago. In addition, the concentration of pollen has increased by 21% compared to the past, and this happened because, with early blooms due to high temperatures, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased, with a consequent increase in pollen production.

It is also important to notice that, with the climate change and the altered distribution of species, allergic people are increasingly exposed to unusual types of pollen (just think that pollen can travel for hundreds of miles!). Moreover, we are going through a particular historical moment, when allergic symptoms can be easily confused with the symptoms strictly related to the Coronavirus infection.

Conjunctivitis, that is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, is one of the initial Coronavirus infection symptoms so as one of the most common manifestations of seasonal allergies. Is there a way to distinguish these two pathologies? 

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis

Generally, the difference between the various types of conjunctivitis is strictly connected with the agent that causes them. 

Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when a person comes into contact with substances that the person is allergic to.

There are different subtypes of allergic conjunctivitis, differentiated according to the allergen involved; the most common one is the seasonal allergic conjunctivitis caused by the contact with pollen. It is usually characterized by ocular redness, profuse tearing, eyelid swelling, burning and photophobia. It occurs in both eyes and is often associated with other allergic symptoms that can arise, such as rhinitis, dermatitis, etc ... 

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis spreads because of eye contact with a virus.

The most common symptoms are: redness of the conjunctiva, intense lacrimation, photophobia and poor secretion. The distinctive features that may suggest that we are in front of a case of viral conjunctivitis are the presence of inflammation in only one eye and the possible enlargement of the lymph nodes near the jawline.

Currently, there are no precise symptoms that can differentiate a Coronavirus conjunctivitis from conjunctivitis of another viral origin, but if other symptoms such as cough, fever and dyspnoea occur we could probably be in front of a case of Covid-19 infection.

However, it is always recommended to contact your ophthalmologist to receive a precise diagnosis, avoiding do-it-yourself treatments.


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