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Novel coronavirus can damage the retina

Lesions and microhemorrhages in the retina

Marinho, P.M. et al. Lancet. May 12, 2020

Ophthalmologists at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) suspect that Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can damage the retina—the inner region of the eye that captures light and transforms it into electrical signals to send to the brain. The group, led by ophthalmologist Rubens Belfort Júnior, identified small lesions in the retinas of 12 health professionals who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and suffered symptoms of the disease (Lancet, may 12). It is not yet known whether the lesions were caused directly by the virus or whether they can affect vision. Four of the patients also had retinal hemorrhages, but their vision remained normal.