Could Eye Drops and Eyeglasses Prevent COVID?

One of the pathways to COVID infection is through contact with the eyes.  There was a study in China, published by JAMA Ophthalmology on September 16, that found only 6% of 276 patients hospitalized at Suizhou Zengdu Hospital were myopic and needed to wear glasses, versus the proportion of population of the Hubei province where the hospital is located of 32%.

Doctors think that there may be two reasons for this.  First, eyeglasses may prevent or discourage wearers from touching their eyes.  Second, eyeglasses may reduce the risk of virus-laden airborne droplets from reaching the eyes.

On November 13, Bausch & Lomb presented data at the remote 2020 Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group 54th Annual Meeting. Two of their eye drops using BAK, a quaternary ammonium compound commonly used as a preservative in ophthalmic topical solutions, completely inactivated the COVID virus.  While the clinical relevance is not yet known, this is an encouraging study.  If the COVID pathway through the eyes could be eliminated, we have one more weapon against the pandemic.


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