Can COVID-19 Cause Burning Eyes?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, October 13, 2021

Burning eyes can be a sign of COVID-19.

COVID-19, commonly known as ‘Coronavirus’, is a highly contagious viral infection that attacks the upper respiratory system.

COVID-19 is caused by a virus that enters the cells via an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). This enzyme can be found in the lungs, heart, blood vessels, digestive tract and ocular membranes.

What are the signs of COVID-19?

The most common COVID-19 symptoms to watch for include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of smell or taste

If you experience burning eyes along with any of these symptoms, contact an eye doctor near you who can advise you what the next steps are. 

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Can COVID-19 cause eye symptoms?

COVID-19 has the potential to cause eye pain or burning eyes.

However, a review of published research in the Journal of Ophthalmic & Vision Research (2021) showed that these symptoms are pretty infrequent among COVID patients, with only 11 percent experiencing eye pain or burning eyes.

Eye conditions that cause burning eyes

Common eye conditions that cause burning eyes, include:

Is pink eye a symptom of COVID-19?

In rare cases, COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis, an eye infection commonly known as pink eye.

Recent published data reports that only 3 percent of COVID patients are diagnosed with conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis develops when a virus infects the conjunctiva tissue, the clear thin membrane that covers the white part of your eye and inside of your eyelids.

Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following symptoms of pink eye:

  • Eye pain
  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Yellow or green discharge
  • Crust surrounding your eyelid margins

When to see an eye doctor?

If you are experiencing any changes in your vision or eye discomfort, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

If you are also experiencing other COVID-19 symptoms, immediately follow your government’s health regulation policies.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Eye Health 

Uncomfortable eyes are most commonly caused by allergies, dry eye syndrome or an eye infection, but some COVID-19 patients do experience eye discomfort.

If you suffer from uncomfortable eyes, see your eye doctor for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan.