- The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted ophthalmology and medical education profoundly. In an effort to reduce the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a statement on March 18, 2020, urging all ophthalmologists immediately to cease providing any treatment other than urgent or emergent care.1 This recommendation—endorsed by every major ophthalmology organization in the United States—resulted in a 79% reduction in care, the highest decline of any medical or surgical discipline.
- The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has had a global impact.1 Eye professionals may be at risk of contracting COVID-19 because face-to-face proximity is required to examine patients using a slit lamp or ophthalmoscope.
- On February 7, 2020, Dr. Li Wenliang, a fellow ophthalmologist from Wuhan, China, died of infection with the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; now termed COVID-19). Several months earlier, Dr. Li had attempted to warn his colleagues of a potential infectious disease outbreak, urging doctors to wear personal protective equipment while examining patients.1 As 1 of 8 whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm about this unusual respiratory illness, Dr. Li is now considered a national and international hero for his efforts.
- The potential for transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) through ocular fluid is a concern for ophthalmologists. In this issue, Seah et al,1 (see page 977 ) from the National Health Care Group Eye Institute in Singapore, report that they were unable to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the tears of 17 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. They conclude the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through tears likely is low. Although the results are reassuring, risks to ophthalmologists remain because a few caveats must be considered.
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread rapidly across the globe to cause a pandemic. Although it is known to be transmitted via droplets, alternative modes of transmission remain unknown. Transmission through infected ocular tissue or fluid has been a controversy.1,2 It is hypothesized that the nasolacrimal system can act as a conduit for viruses to travel from the upper respiratory tract to the eye. Hence, ocular tissue and fluid may represent a potential source of SARS-CoV-2.