Most of us will now be aware of the tell-tale signs of coronavirus – a new continuous cough, a fever and a loss of taste/smell.
But experts now believe sore and itchy eyes could be an early sign of the virus, and something we should be aware of.
While the persistent cough, high temperature and loss of taste and smell are the most common symptoms, eye irritation has been identified as another potential sign of Covid-19.
The study, published in the BMJ Open Ophthalmology Journal, also identified light sensitivity as another possible symptom.
The study was carried out by Anglia Ruskin University, using the data from 83 coronavirus patients.
In line with the symptoms of coronavirus recognised by the NHS, the study found the most common symptoms were cough, fever and loss of taste and smell.
The study also discovered fatigue was one of the most common symptoms, found in 90% of cases.
But another symptom, which was found more rarely, was light sensitivity, known as photophobia, which was found in 18% of patients.
Meanwhile, 17% had itchy eyes and 16% suffered sore eyes.
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81% of those who reported the eye-related symptoms experienced them within two weeks of other symptoms.
Previous reports have suggested Covid-19 may cause eye infections such as conjunctivitis.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one in three patients with coronavirus develop conjunctivitis.
Professor Shahina Pardhan, director of the vision and eye research unit at the Anglia Ruskin University School of Medicine, told The Sun: “The most significant ocular symptom experiences by people suffering from Covid-19 was sore eyes.
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“Other symptoms associated with other types of conjunctivitis, such as mucous discharge and gritty eyes linked to bacterial infection, did not reach significance.
“The term ‘conjunctivitis’ is too broad and should be used with caution.”
Chelsey Earnest, nurse at the Life Care Centre in Washington, said red eyes are the “single most important sign” someone has Covid.
She told CNN: “They have, like…allergy eyes. The white part of the eye is not red. It's more like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes.”
Meanwhile, the official NHS list of symptoms doesn’t include eye problems.
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