A report published in the journal of Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this month found that the coronavirus lingered in the eyes of Italy’s first COVID-19 case days after it had cleared from her nose, throat and mouth, Live Science reports.
Additionally, the report found that the levels of COVID-19 detected in the 65-year-old woman’s eye fluid were high enough to be contagious, according to the Washington Post.
Researchers believe that the reason why the illness was still found in her eyes is that the virus was continuing to replicate in that area even after it had been defeated in the rest of the woman’s body, Fox News reports.
According to Newsweek, five days after the Italian woman had fully recovered from the virus and no longer tested positive, COVID-19 was still detectable — and possibly still contagious — in her eye fluid.
This new finding, combined with the fact that USA Today reports conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an early symptom in some cases of the COVID-19 virus, makes previous advice from medical officials to avoid touching the eyes, nose, mouth and face, and wash hands frequently, even more significant for everyone — including those who have recovered from COVID-19.