Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel virus causing an ongoing pandemic in 2020. Although the symptomatic patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 generally show respiratory distress, atypical manifestations such as conjunctivitis are also observed. A series of cases are reported in which reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing on tears had demonstrated the presence of the virus. However, the transmission of the virus through ocular fluids remains unknown.
In this case report, the development of conjunctivitis is presented as the sole symptom of a new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in an emergency health care worker. The patient's first application was to the ophthalmology clinic due to redness, stinging, tearing, and photophobia for one day in the right eye. The patient had no symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or fatigue. Two days later, the RT-PCR test, blood analysis, and chest computed tomography (CT) were applied to the patient for being in contact with a COVID positive patient. Conjunctival swabs did not identify SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. However, nasopharyngeal swab and blood test confirmed the diagnosis of COVID-19. Chest CT did not show pneumonia.
This phenomenon shows that conjunctivitis may occur as a sole manifestation of COVID-19 which needs to be carefully evaluated by health care workers and eye care professionals during the pandemic.