According to a report from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the virus -- which has infected well over 1 million Americans and continues to grow -- has been found in people's tears and could possibly enter the body through someone's eyes, due to the presence of a specific protein, which is also found in the respiratory tract and the lungs.
The report states, "The purpose of this study was to determine whether ocular surface cells possess the key factors required for cellular susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 entry/infection." Researchers looked at the eyes from 10 people -- who did not die from coronavirus -- and reportedly found the protein called ACE-2, which was present in the cornea, eyelids, and the white area of the eye.
The study suggests infected droplets from a sneeze or a cough could infect someone via their eyes and that someone with COVID-19 may be able to spread the virus via their tears. The study continued, stating, "These results indicate that ocular surface cells including conjunctiva are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, and could therefore serve as a portal of entry as well as a reservoir for person-to-person transmission of this virus.
Researchers went on to note, "This highlights the importance of safety practices including face masks and ocular contact precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease." The results of the study have not been peer-reviewed yet.
As always, The Doctors stress the importance of always washing your hands, avoiding large crowds outside of your household, and wearing a mask.
*Get more resources, tips, advice, and news on coronavirus/COVID-19 from The Doctors and stay informed on the latest information on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and learn about prevention methods and what to do if you are infected.