Are Itchy Eyes a Sign of COVID-19?
February 09, 2022
The current Omicron surge has all of us itching with anxiety and Googling symptoms.
Ophthalmologist, Michael Rosenberg, M.D., weighs in on the latest COVID-query - are itchy eyes a sign of COVID-19? Specifically, are they a symptom of the Omicron variant?
“Yes, you could experience itchy eyes from COVID-19, but it’s pretty uncommon,” says Dr. Rosenberg.
An Uncommon Symptom of COVID-19 is Pink Eye
“A study found that only 1 to 3% of patients had conjunctivitis, or pink eye, from having COVID-19,” shares Dr. Rosenberg. “If you have symptoms of pink eye - pink or red coloring of the eye, swelling, itching or burning, and you have no other accompanying COVID symptoms, it’s unlikely that you have COVID.”
In most cases, pink eye can be treated at home with symptom relieving techniques and medications like cleaning your eye with a wet cloth, using a cold or warm compress, or lubricating eye drops. If symptoms worsen, you develop a fever, sensitivity to light, or blurry vision, contact your doctor immediately.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle ache
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Practice Hand Washing & Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
“Pink eye is commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infection, so similar to COVID-19, close contact with an infected person can spread the infection. Both pink eye and COVID can enter your body through the eyes,” says Dr. Rosenberg.
“It’s generally a good idea to avoid touching your face overall - we use our hands constantly, picking up germs and bacteria from different surfaces, you don’t want any of those coming near your eyes, nose or mouth,” adds Dr. Rosenberg.
For protection from respiratory infections like COVID-19, the flu and other illnesses, it’s best to:
- Wash your hand with warm water and soap frequently
- If you must touch your face, wash your hands thoroughly beforehand
- Stay up to date on vaccinations for both COVID-19 and the flu
- Wear a mask and practice safe physical distancing when appropriate
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our source: Michael Rosenberg, M.D.
- To make an appointment with a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
- Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment
- Find information on COVID testing and vaccination locations
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
Why It’s A Bad Idea To ‘Just Get COVID’
Now that the highly contagious Omicron variant is widespread – and because people may experience milder symptoms with Omicron than with previous variants – you may be thinking, “should I just get COVID?”