To present a patient with bilateral conjunctivitis testing positive for viral RNA of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in both nasopharyngeal and conjunctival samples.
A 40-year-old man with bilateral acute conjunctivitis and no suspicious signs of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presented to the hospital. A detailed ophthalmic examination was performed. Samples obtained from conjunctival and nasopharyngeal swabs were tested by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) for detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Ocular findings and duration of the presence of viral RNA in the conjunctival specimens were evaluated at follow-up visits.
Slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed bilateral acute follicular conjunctivitis. The RT-PCR assay demonstrated the presence of viral RNA in the nasopharyngeal and conjunctival specimens at the initial visit and at the 4-day follow up. Conjunctivitis findings were decreased after 4 days and recovered completely without any sequelae within10 days. The PCR results of both nasopharyngeal and conjunctiva specimens were negative for the viral RNA at 10 days.
Bilateral conjunctivitis is rare in patients infected with COVID-19. Although it is difficult to detect viral RNA from conjunctival swabs, conjunctival secretions may be a source of contamination and protective measures must be taken.