Eye Pain After Covid: Know the Causes

Amisha Jain
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Dr. Kaushal

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Eye Pain After Covid

Itchy eyes, soreness, and eye pain after Covid have been a common occurrence.

The current evidence regarding the transmission of Covid suggests that it could spread through respiratory droplets.

This says that you might be susceptible to infection if a droplet from an infected person reaches your eye.

It might cause irritation, dryness, pain, etc.

Studies have reported that up to one-third of patients hospitalized with Covid had some sort of ocular abnormality.

Moving forward, we shall see what could be the probable causes of this eye pain and take a quick glance at what we can do to avoid it.

Does Covid cause eye pain?

Covid has also been reported to cause several eye conditions.

One of the most commonly observed symptoms that people with Covid experience is eye pain or soreness.

 About 16% of the patients experienced eye pain after Covid or as an early symptom of the condition.

We know COVID-19 deprives the entire body of oxygen, including the brain, and this is what can cause eye and vision complications.

Amber Dunn, O.D.

Going further in this article, we will discuss the various ocular issues that might arise and be causing eye pain after Covid.


Based on the data observed so far, doctors believe that 1%-3% of people with Covid will get Conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is the inflammation and irritation of the conjunctiva.

It is the mucous membrane that covers the white part of the eye.

It has been reported as one of the possible symptoms of Covid along with others like fever, coughing, loss of smell and taste, etc.

ConjunctivitisSource: TimMcClean_From_Getty_Images
Pink eye

Some of the signs of Conjunctivitis include the following:

  • Redness 
  • Itching 
  • Tearing
  • Soreness or irritation


Another eye symptom that has been reported as a result of Covid is Episcleritis.

Episcleritis is an inflammatory condition of the eye that affects the tissue between the conjunctiva and the white part of the eye.

Like Conjunctivitis, it also causes redness of the eyes.

Other symptoms might include:

  • Soreness or discomfort
  • Tearing
  • Ligh Sensitivity


Scleritis is the infection of the white part of the eye, called the sclera.

It was observed to have manifested after Covid vaccination in some patients.

It is classified into two types:

  • Anterior Scleritis
  • Posterior Scleritis

Anterior Scleritis affects the front part of the eye and is a more common type. Posterior Scleritis affects the back part of the eye.

Some of the symptoms of Scleritis that you might observe include the following:

  • Eye pain or tenderness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Frequent tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness or swelling of the sclera

Optic Neuritis

A 2021 study has concluded Optic Neuritis as one of the possible viral manifestations that might cause eye pain after Covid.

Optic Neuritis occurs when inflammation or swelling damages the optic nerve.

The optic nerve helps to transmit visual information from the eyes to the brain.

It usually affects only one eye.

Infections can be one of the reasons for this damage.

Its symptoms include

  • Eye pain
  • Loss of vision in the affected eye
  • Flashing lights
  • Affected color vision

Headache and Migraine

A headache is one of the most common post-Covid symptoms that might persist or develop.

It often presents itself accompanied by other long Covid symptoms and might take the form of migraine attacks or tension headaches.

The cases presented in a report that the Corona virus may impact the bioelectrical activity of the brain.

Digital Eye Strain (DES)

DES, or Computer Vision Syndrome, encompasses a variety of eye-related symptoms that might develop due to extended screen time.

It is an emerging threat to public health, with an estimated prevalence of about 50% or more among computer users. 

The screentime of an average person increased with the onset of the pandemic.

The time you spend in front of a digital screen is directly related to the risk of eye strain.

It is now a usual routine for children to spend most of their time attending e-classes in front of screens.

The prevalence of DES falls in the range of 22.3% to 39.8% in this community.

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Protecting your eyes

If you start developing symptoms of Covid and observe changes in vision or persistent discomfort, see a doctor immediately.

Protecting your eyesSource: Oleksandrbedenyuk
Spraying Sanitizer on Hand

Apart from this:

  • Always wear a face mask
  • Wash and sanitize your hands often
  • Social distancing
  • Wearing eyeglasses might protect your eyes from respiratory droplets
  • Avoid touching your eyes often
  • Get vaccinated to reduce your risk of infection
Some of these conditions might cause damage or lead to vision loss.
Consult a doctor as soon as possible for appropriate advice.


Many people have experienced symptoms like eye pain, itchy eyes, photophobia, etc., as a result of Covid.

Apart from this, patients have also observed ocular manifestations that lead to eye pain after Covid.

It is believed that these symptoms subside over time.

But a wise decision would be to consult a doctor to ensure you get the best treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to treat sore eyes from Covid?

Most of the time, eye soreness due to Covid will subside. But you should consult your doctor if your symptoms worsen and cause discomfort. In the meantime, applying a cold compress and not touching your eyes often might be helpful.

Is eye pain a symptom of Covid?

Eye pain or soreness is one of the most common ocular symptoms reported by people suffering from Covid. Other symptoms include itchiness and photophobia.

What are the possible eye infections from Covid that cause eye pain?

Covid might cause some infections, which include Conjunctivitis, Scleritis, Episcleritis, and Optic Neuritis, which might cause eye pain.

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