You may be familiar with many of the common symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and fatigue. There are also less common symptoms like headache or diarrhea. But what about eye symptoms like blurry vision?

The novel coronavirus typically enters your body through your nose and mouth, but it can also get in through your eyes. This can happen when respiratory droplets carrying the virus spray into your face or when you touch something with the virus on it and then touch your eyes.

While it doesn’t appear that COVID-19 directly causes blurry vision, this symptom may occur due to other eye issues linked to COVID-19.

This article will take a closer look at this topic as well as other eye problems that can be caused by COVID-19.

COVID-19 is unlikely to cause blurry vision by itself. However, COVID-19 can lead to other eye issues, such as conjunctivitis and dry eye that may cause blurriness.

Let’s look at these two eye conditions in more detail.

Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the tissue that covers the white part of your eye and the inner part of your eyelids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or allergies. You may also know it as pink eye.

One of the symptoms of conjunctivitis is blurry or hazy vision. Other symptoms can include:

A 2021 meta-analysis investigated COVID-19 and its effect on the eyes. The researchers found that, of those who had COVID-19 that affected the eyes, conjunctivitis was the most common eye condition reported.

Generally speaking, conjunctivitis is quite rare in COVID-19. An April 2020 meta-analysis evaluated three studies that included 1,167 people with either severe or non-severe COVID-19. The overall rate of conjunctivitis was 1.1 percent.

It’s possible, but unconfirmed, that conjunctivitis may occur more often in hospitalized individuals. An August 2020 study of 301 people hospitalized with COVID-19 found that 35 (11.6 percent) had conjunctivitis.

Tears help to lubricate and protect your eyes. You have dry eye syndrome when your eyes don’t make enough tears.

Some individuals with dry eye may experience blurry vision. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • stinging or burning eyes
  • feeling like something is in your eye
  • red, irritated eyes
  • pain when wearing contact lenses

The 2021 meta-analysis mentioned earlier found that dry eye was the most commonly reported eye symptom associated with COVID-19. Of the individuals reporting eye symptoms, 16 percent reported having dry eye.

Aside from conjunctivitis and dry eye, COVID-19 has been linked with some other eye issues. These are typically quite rare, with most reported issues occurring only in a single person or in a small group of people.

A May 2020 case series detailed eye symptoms in 12 people hospitalized with COVID-19. In addition to conjunctivitis, increased tearing (epiphora) and a type of eye inflammation called chemosis were also reported.

Other case studies have reported instances of various types of eye inflammation associated with COVID-19. These include reports of uveitis and episcleritis.

Two case studies detailed vision loss due to blockage of blood vessels in the retina. This is believed to be due to the hypercoagulable state that can occur in COVID-19, in which the risk of blood clots is increased. Over time, vision improved in both cases.

Also of note, an August 2020 study found that a history of macular degeneration was associated with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. However, the exact details behind this link are unclear and more research is needed.

If you’re concerned about the novel coronavirus and your eye health, consider taking the following steps to protect your eyes:

COVID-19 has a wide variety of symptoms that can vary from one person to the next. However, some symptoms are more common than others.

A December 2020 study looked at health records and survey results of 206,377 individuals with COVID-19 symptoms. It found that the most common COVID-19 symptoms were:

Other less common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

These symptoms may often, but not always, appear in a certain order. An August 2020 modeling study found that, based off of data from two different sets of people with COVID-19, symptoms were most likely to proceed in this order:

Typical order of COVID-19 symptoms
  1. fever
  2. cough
  3. muscle pain, sore throat, headache
  4. nausea, vomiting
  5. diarrhea

If you have COVID-19 and experience any of the following eye symptoms, contact your eye doctor promptly:

It’s also vital to be aware of the signs that COVID-19 has become serious. Symptoms to watch out for include:

If you or someone else is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, go to the emergency room or call 911. Make sure to let first responders know that you’re seeking medical attention for someone with COVID-19.

COVID-19 probably doesn’t directly cause blurry vision. However, it can potentially lead to conjunctivitis or dry eyes. Blurry vision is a symptom of both of these eye conditions.

Contact your eye doctor if you have COVID-19 and experience blurry vision or other symptoms like eye redness or pain. They can offer advice on how to care for your eyes as you recover and may prescribe eyedrops or ointment.