It is true that COVID-19 can affect your eyes, but does coronavirus cause blurry vision? We’re here to outline the current research for you to make sure that you’re fully informed on how COVID-19 may impact your vision.
Does COVID-19 cause blurred vision?
From current research on the virus, and sources such as the World Health Organisation, COVID-19 does not appear to cause blurry vision — at least not directly. While coronavirus can affect your eyesight in some ways, blurred vision is not a direct symptom of COVID.
However, coronavirus can cause other eye-related conditions which can affect your vision. One of the more common eye conditions related to COVID-19 is conjunctivitis (pink eye).1 Symptoms of conjunctivitis include red and itchy eyes, watery eye discharge, as well as sensitivity to light and eye pain. In some cases, this eye irritation can also lead to mildly blurry vision.
Another frequent symptom of COVID-19 is extreme fatigue — sometimes even hallucinations — so your vision may be affected by this too.
If you are experiencing blurry vision following a positive COVID-19 test, it is most likely not a direct result of COVID, but a result of another coronavirus symptom, like conjunctivitis or fatigue, or a completely separate cause altogether.
Is blurred vision a symptom of long COVID?
A significant number of people who have contracted coronavirus suffer prolonged symptoms, known as ‘long COVID’. In a study of long COVID patients, blurred vision, dry eyes, eye pain and other vision problems were noted by participants as some of their ongoing symptoms.2
However, it must be remembered that this study can only be applied to those with long COVID, and there are similarly some issues with the data collection here that make the results less reliable. The study itself acknowledges that further research is necessary to link long-COVID and blurred vision.
Similarly, the NHS do not list any eye or vision condition as a symptom for long COVID patients to look out for, therefore more research is necessary before suggesting that COVID-19 causes blurry vision.3
Can COVID affect your eyesight in other ways?
Coronavirus can cause some vision problems, however it is quite rare for people to experience them
As mentioned, conjunctivitis can be a symptom of COVID-19. However, it is still quite a rare symptom of coronavirus — only 1-3% of those with COVID-19 will contract conjunctivitis. To find out more about the link between coronavirus and conjunctivitis, visit our conjunctivitis page.
Researchers have also found some link between coronavirus and eye pain — with symptoms including sore eyes and light sensitivity. This is mainly caused by related COVID symptoms such as conjunctivitis, which can cause the eyes to become sore and sensitive — however, again, this is not a very common issue. Learn more about COVID and eye pain here.
What do I do if I think COVID is impacting my vision?
If you have or think you may have contracted COVID-19, you should follow local government guidelines. The UK Government recommends taking an at-home test or PCR test, following self-isolation guidance, and contacting the NHS coronavirus hotline on 119 for more information. If you have a positive test result, it’s important to stay inside and follow self-isolation advice.
Noticed a recent change in your eyesight?
Everything you need to knowabout Coronavirus
- World Health Organisation (2021). Coronavirus [online]. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_3 [accessed 09/2021]
- Hannah Davis, Gina Asaaf, Lisa McCorkell, Hannah Wei, Ryan Low, Yochai Re’em et al. Characterizing long COVID in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact, [online] EClinicalMedicine 38:101019 (2021), pp.1-19. Available at: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(21)00299-6/fulltext aAccessed 09/2021].
- NHS UK (2021), Long-term effects of coronavirus [online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/long-term-effects-of-coronavirus-long-covid/ [accessed 09/2021
- Shahina Pardhan, Megan Vaughan, Jufen Zhang, Lee Smith, Havovi Chichger (2020). Sore eyes as the most significant ocular symptom experienced by people with COVID-19: a comparison between pre-COVID-19 and during COVID-19 states [online]. Available at: https://bmjophth.bmj.com/content/5/1/e000632 [accessed 09/2021].