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Red Eyes Might Be a Key Sign of Coronavirus, Reports Suggest

A nurse likened the symptom to ‘allergy eyes.’

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Some reports suggest that red, itchy eyes could be a key sign of coronavirus infection.

Chelsey Earnest, a nurse at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, WA, told CNN that she repeatedly noticed a symptom she likened to “allergy eyes” in COVID-19 patients. Life Care Center was the site of a coronavirus outbreak connected to “at least 37 deaths,” according to the New York Post.

“The white part of the eye is not red,” CNN quoted Earnest saying. “It’s more like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not list red eyes as a symptom of COVID-19, CNN notes.

But the American Academy of Ophthalmology recently stated in an alert that “several reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva.”

The group warned: “Patients who present to ophthalmologists for conjunctivitis who also have fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, and who have recently traveled internationally, particularly to areas with known outbreaks (China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, or to hotspots within the United States), or with family members recently back from one of these areas, could represent cases of COVID-19.”

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