What you need to know

  • Several reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with the conjunctiva.
  • Patients who present to ophthalmologists for conjunctivitis who also have a fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, and who have recently travelled internationally, particularly to areas with known outbreaks (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea), or with family members recently back from one of these countries, could represent cases of COVID-19.
  • The Academy and federal officials recommend protection for the mouth, nose and eyes when caring for patients potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is very likely susceptible to the same alcohol- and bleach-based disinfectants that ophthalmologists commonly use to disinfect ophthalmic instruments and office furniture. To prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, the same disinfection practices already used to prevent the office-based spread of other viral pathogens are recommended before and after every patient encounter.