Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the spectrum of ocular characteristics and viral presence in the conjunctival swab of patients with COVID-19. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, fifty-three patients were recruited from two COVID-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta (Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital and Persahabatan Hospital) from July 2020 to March 2021. The inclusion criteria were patients who were suspected of or confirmed cases of COVID-19 with or without ocular symptoms. Demographic data, history of COVID-19 exposure, underlying medical condition, systemic symptoms, ocular symptoms, supporting laboratory results, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of naso-oropharyngeal (NOP) swab and conjunctival swab were collected. Results: Fifty-three patients who were suspected, probable or confirmed cases of Covid-19 were included. Forty-six out of 53 patients (86.79%) tested positive for either Covid-19 antibody rapid test or naso-oropharyngeal (NOP) swab. Forty-two patients tested positive for NOP swab. Fourteen out of 42 patients (33.33%) experienced symptoms of ocular infection including red eye, epiphora, itchy eyes, and eye discharge. None of these patients were tested positive for conjunctival swab. Two out of 42 patients (4.76%), who were tested positive for conjunctival swab, did not experience any ocular symptoms. Conclusions: Establishing the relationship between Covid-19 infection, ocular symptoms, and presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the ocular surface proves to be challenging. In Covid-19 patients, ocular symptoms did not warrant a positive conjunctival swab result. On the contrary, a patient without ocular symptoms can also have detectable presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the ocular surface.
- Conjunctival swab
- Ocular manifestation