Covid-19 could cause potentially dangerous ‘nodules’ on patients’ EYEBALLS due to inflammation triggered by the virus, scientists warn
- French doctors conducted MRI scans on 129 severely ill Covid-19 patients
- They found evidence of eye nodules in nine of these hospitalised individuals
- What causes them and their long-term impact on health is currently unknown
From a dry cough to a high fever, coronavirus is known to be linked to a range of unpleasant symptoms.
Now, a new study has revealed another potential side effect – nodules on your eyeballs.
Researchers have warned that coronavirus infection may trigger inflammation of the eyeballs and lead to the formation of mysterious nodules at the back of the organ.
Experts do not yet know what causes these nodules or the impact they have on a patient’s long-term health.
However, a study of 129 French Covid-19 patients who had severe Covid-19 and underwent MRI scans revealed nine of them (seven per cent) suffered abnormalities.
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Pictured the MRI scan of a 56-year-old man with severe COVID-19. The patient had been hospitalized in intensive care unit for 20 days when an MRI was performed. He was on a ventilator and in the prone position. This photo shows nodules at the back of the eyeball in the macular region (white arrowhead) and the extramacular region (black arrowheads). The arrow on the right points out a detached retina
Eight of the patients in the study were at some point treated in intensive care.
‘We showed that a few patients with severe COVID-19 from the French COVID-19 cohort had one or several nodules of the posterior pole of the globe,’ said study lead author Dr Augustin Lecler from the University of Paris.
‘This is the first time these findings have been described using MRI.’
The images produced by the MRI reveal at least one nodule on the macular region of the organ in afflicted individuals. This region is integral to central vision.
Researchers believe the nodules could be linked with inflammation triggered by the virus, a common manifestation of the disease which attacks several organs.
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19 is known to infect the brain and affect the body’s network of neurons.
Now scientists are investigating the long-term impact of these symptoms, to see if the virus causes enduring neurological damage.
Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden are following the progress of 19 individuals who caught the virus last year and developed neurological symptoms.
Disease severity in the cohort varied from mild to critical and all the participants recovered, with symptoms ranging from delirium to a coma.
Eight people in the study (42 per cent) had ‘altered mental status’ and eight also had headaches as a result of their Covid-19.
But they also theorise the problem could be caused by patients lying on their fronts in hospital in the prone position which inadvertently prevents veins from draining.
Of the nine patients with eye nodules, two had diabetes, six were obese and two had hypertension.
The team behind the finding also speculate the nodules could be connected to intubation for ventilation.
‘Our study advocates for screening of all patients hospitalized in the ICU for severe COVID-19,’ Dr. Lecler said.
‘We believe those patients should receive specific eye-protective treatments.’
The researchers are performing follow-up clinical and MRI examinations in the survivors to monitor the nodules and see if they carry any clinical consequences such as vision loss or visual field impairment.
They are also performing MRI exams in new patients with severe COVID-19 from the second and third waves of the pandemic, using more rigorous tests.
Meanwhile, the effects on patients with moderate Covid are currently under investigation.
Dr Lecler added: ‘We have launched a prospective study with dedicated high-resolution images for exploring the eye and orbit in patients with light to moderate Covid.
‘Therefore, we will be able to know whether our findings were specific to severe Covid patients or not.’
The findings were published in the journal Radiology.
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