Conjunctivitis in COVID-19 patients: frequency and clinical presentation

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency and clinical presentation of conjunctivitis in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Hospital Clinico San Carlos of Madrid, Spain. A total of 301 subjects from the COVID admission unit with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. The presence and clinical characteristics of conjunctivitis were evaluated. Laboratory, radiological, and clinical results in patients with and without conjunctivitis stratified by sex were analyzed. Results: Of the 301 subjects included, 180 patients (59.8%) were male and the median age was 72 years (IQ 59–82). Overall, 35 patients (11.6%) were diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis. We found no relationship between the COVID-19 severity score and the presence of conjunctivitis (P = 0.17). However, conjunctivitis was more frequent in males with moderate clinical severity and in women classified as clinically mild. The natural history of the disease seems to be a rapid self-limited conjunctivitis that improves without treatment and does not affect visual acuity nor associate short-term complications. Conclusions: Approximately, 1 out of 10 hospitalized non-critical COVID-19 patients presents conjunctivitis during the disease. Compared with other viral conjunctivitis, we found distinctive clinical findings that could guide defining and differentiating conjunctivitis in COVID-19 patients.
Received: 1 June 2020 / Revised: 20 July 2020 /Accepted: 25 August 2020