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New Side Effect of COVID Discovered, Say Doctors

Add it to the list of the many ways the virus can damage your health.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

One of the most curious aspects of COVID-19 compared to other diseases, is the myriad of ways it can attack the body and mind. Symptoms range from neurological to physical, and, while some of the damage it wreaks can be temporary, others experience permanent health damage as a result of an infection. Every day researchers are identifying new manifestations of the virus, as they continue to study those inflicted with it. This week, a new study has identified one more way that COVID can devastate the body. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

COVID Can Cause "Significant Abnormalities" in the Eyes

A new study published in the journal Radiology has found that COVID-19 can do ocular damage in critically ill patients. Researchers from the French Society of Neuroradiology (SFNR) used brain MRIs to identify "significant abnormalities" in the eyes. 

"We showed that a few patients with severe COVID-19 from the French COVID-19 cohort had one or several nodules of the posterior pole of the globe," study lead author Augustin Lecler, MD, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Paris and neuroradiologist from the Department of Neuroradiology at the Foundation Adolphe de Rothschild Hospital in Paris, explained in a press release. "This is the first time these findings have been described using MRI."

Of the 129 patients in the cohort, nine (7%) had abnormal MRI findings of the globe, or eyeball, with MRI scans showing one or more nodules in the back part, or posterior pole, of the eyeball. All but one of them had battled a severe COVID-19 infection, spending time in the ICU. All nine patients had nodules in the macular region (the area in the back of the eye responsible for our central vision) while eight had nodules in both eyes.

Due to the fact that this sort of damage could go easily unnoticed, researchers urge the importance of ocular screening in the form of high resolution MRI exams. "Our study advocates for screening of all patients hospitalized in the ICU for severe COVID-19," Dr. Lecler said. "We believe those patients should receive specific eye-protective treatments."

As to why the eyes suffer damage as a result of the virus, researchers aren't sure. However, they believe it could be related to inflammation triggered by the virus. 

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

How to Stay Safe From COVID

The best way to prevent any COVID-related health complications, is to avoid becoming infected in the first place. So follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more