Why The Eye?
Here is a summary of key findings on how the eye plays a key role in the detection of active COVID-19 infection up to 7 days before pulmonary symptoms occur.
- SAR-COV-2 virus penetrates human cells through ACE2 receptors among others. ACE2 receptors are commonly found at cells lining the lungs nasopharynx, and nasolacrimal duct, (Bourgonje et al., 2020).
- Zhou et al. showed ACE2 expression on the ocular surface, predominantly on the superficial conjunctival and corneal epithelial surfaces. With this evidence, the eye can serve as a portal for viral entry and/or inoculation, (Zhou et al., 2020).
- Other studies stated that ocular manifestations in the form of local, transient vasculitis cannot be excluded because of the high vascularity of the conjunctiva and the expression of ACE2 on the surface of endothelial cells (Aiello et al., 2020).