The new ophthalmologist of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Neroev spoke about new symptoms of coronavirus and how to deal with them.
- Vladimir Vladimirovich, by whom and when was this new symptom of coronavirus detected?
- The data provided by Chinese experts suggest that inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye from the very beginning of the epidemic manifested itself as one of the signs of coronavirus disease. At first, this sign of CO-19 was considered secondary, but at the moment it is more and more often manifested in infected people. Now we can already say that conjunctivitis is a suspicion of infection with coronavirus. However, do not forget that with COVID-19 infection, signs of inflammation of the conjunctiva are not the only ones.
- This is probably why ophthalmologists recommended that doctors, when caring for patients with suspected coronavirus, wear not only a respirator, but also safety glasses?
- Biological fluids, including a tear, are a source of viral infection, and the mucous membranes of the eye represent a possible entry gate for infection. Upon contact with the conjunctiva of the eyes of contaminated fingers, or of an infected person being separated - when coughing, sneezing or talking at a distance closer than 2 meters, the risk of the virus entering the body increases. Therefore, goggles are now needed, especially for doctors.
- Is it possible to determine only by signs of conjunctivitis, a person is infected with a coronavirus infection or not?
- The manifestation of the clinical symptoms of conjunctivitis can vary from minor appearances to a vivid clinical picture. In the process of diagnosis, it is important to consider the combination of conjunctivitis with other manifestations of the disease.
- In connection with the risk of the spread of COVID-19, what recommendations can you give to employees of medical institutions related to ophthalmology?
- In medical institutions, it is recommended that, whenever possible, patients visit an ophthalmologist and conduct routine diagnostic procedures. Only emergency cases. When contacting patients with conjunctivitis with a medical institution, it is necessary to measure body temperature. If the body temperature rises, refer the patient according to the current routing of patients with suspected coronavirus infection. It is also recommended to interview a patient with conjunctivitis about the recent stay of his or her immediate environment in countries with an unfavorable epidemic situation. If the answer is yes, refer the patient according to the current routing of patients with suspected coronavirus infection.
The Ministry of Health also recommends organizing a room in which patients expect admission accordingly, that is, ensure that the distance between patients is at least 2 meters, as well as provide patients with protective masks. When examined by an ophthalmologist, I recommend asking the patient not to talk, to voice all questions after the examination. And of course, it is advisable to process all ophthalmic equipment, including eyeglass frames with disinfectants before and after examining each patient. "
- What recommendations can you give to patients?
- Strictly observe the rules of personal hygiene in the family: use a separate towel, only your own bedding, separate utensils. Towels and bedding should be changed at least twice a week. It is strictly forbidden without touching the eyelids and eyes! I recommend washing your face only after thoroughly washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Patients who constantly use eye drops, for example, for glaucoma, should wash their hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after each drop instillation procedure. Similarly, hands should be handled by those who are dripping drops to another person. Eye drops, ointments, gels, pipettes, glass sticks for laying ointments should be strictly individual use.
- What do you recommend to those who wear glasses?
- More often handle glasses with disinfectants, do not allow the use of glasses by other people. After returning from the street, be sure to treat the glasses with a disinfectant. Those who wear contact lenses, I would recommend limiting their wearing whenever possible. But if it is so necessary and it is impossible to do without them, you need to thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after each manipulation with contact lenses. And finally, I advise everyone to well ventilate the room, carry out wet cleaning using special disinfectants, and the door handles should be thoroughly disinfected.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize once again: take care of your eyes! With the spread of coronavirus, they have recently become the most vulnerable to infection by the mucous membrane.