Purpose: This study was performed to determine the occurrence of ocular surface manifestations in patients diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods: A systematic search of electronic databases i.e. PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, OVID and Google scholar was performed using a comprehensive search strategy. The searches were current through 31st May 2020. Pooled data from cross-sectional studies was used for meta-analysis and a narrative synthesis was conducted for studies where a meta-analysis was not feasible. Results: A total of 16 studies reporting 2347 confirmed COVID-19 cases were included. Pooled data showed that 11.64% of COVID-19 patients had ocular surface manifestations. Ocular pain (31.2%), discharge (19.2%), redness (10.8%), and follicular conjunctivitis (7.7%) were the main features. 6.9% patients with ocular manifestations had severe pneumonia. Viral RNA was detected from the ocular specimens in 3.5% patients. Conclusion: The most common reported ocular presentations of COVID-19 included ocular pain, redness, discharge, and follicular conjunctivitis. A small proportion of patients had viral RNA in their conjunctival/tear samples. The available studies show significant publication bias and heterogeneity. Prospective studies with methodical collection and data reporting are needed for evaluation of ocular involvement in COVID-19.


© 2020 Aggarwal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Aggarwal, K., Agarwal, A., Jaiswal, N., Dahiya, N., Ahuja, A., Mahajan, S., Tong, L., Duggal, M., Singh, M., Agrawal, R. & Gupta, V. 2020, 'Ocular surface manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a systematic review and meta-analysis', PLOS ONE, 15(11), article no: e0241661. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241661

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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