Articles, Blog

Coronavirus: Why these experts believe the China Wuhan virus is spread through the eyes

February 14, 2020

now unless you’ve been living under a
rock for the last couple of months you know that the news is consumed by the
outbreak of this new coronavirus and last week saw the passing away of dr.
Li Wanliang the doctor who first raised the alarm bells surrounding this
mystery virus that he was noticing in his patients doctor Li Wenliang now
hero to so many people in Wuhan region of China where he lived, he was an ophthalmologist first noticed these strange cases in a handful of his own patients
in recent weeks there’s also been news of another doctor dr. Wang Guangfa
these are a spiritual surgeon that were contracted the corona virus but
fortunately recovered and he’s been warning that he believes that the coronavirus is being spread through the ice so we’ve got two medical professionals that
both contracted the coronavirus one has sadly passed away and did the one
fortunately has recovered he continues to warn people that he believes that the
eye is a vulnerable area that is leading to the continued spread of this new
novel coronavirus so is it just a mere coincidence or is it in fact an
important health advice that we should be emphasizing in the advice that we
give to people. Hi I’m Martin Oguzie and this is Martin’s eye tips, thank you for
joining me I’m a uk-based optometrist where I’ve been in practice now for
about 20 years and on this channel we’re all about helping you see better see
more comfortably and be less anxious about your eyes so today’s videos gonna
be more of a brief explanation around the news event and how it relates to the
eyes and therefore I’m not gonna be explaining what the corner virus is or
anything like that there’s plenty of information about that and in fact I’m
gonna link in the description box below so important information about it from
the World Health Organization as well as the NHS and UK government information is
well if you want to read up on some of the facts around the corona virus
exactly what it is and what you should be doing to protect yourself so for this
video I’m gonna be jumping behind the computer screen where I’ve got some
articles that really want to show you so we’re gonna do that right now okay so
here we are behind the screen and this is the first article that I want to show
you is from an article dated the 6th of February by the post online media
magazine and at this point dr. Li is still critically ill and this article
gives a little bit of breakdown of really the story of how he
came about to discover the condition how he got sick and you know there are some
key things here that I want to do just highlight and I’ll leave a link to this
article in the description box below so you can have a look for yourself that
silly when yang was working as an ophthalmologist so an eye surgeon at the
Wuhan Central Hospital obviously being an ophthalmologist he deals with eyes
and he would have seen lots of different patients on a daily basis so something
about these seven patients that he saw concerned him enough to make him
suspicious that something else was going on and the serious viral condition was
going on he had them scanned and had chest scans done on these individuals
and it turned out that they all had this kind of respiratory problem which made
him suspicious that this was SARS and sauce stands for having severe acute
respiratory syndrome it’s also the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003
and you know so this was something that he really I guess having his radar and
he was concerned about and he raised the alarm with first of all his colleagues
and essentially what he was saying to them was to make sure that they were you
know taking the right precautions wearing masks and you know really just
being cautious of the the virus that he was concerned was gonna start to spread
in a big way now suddenly dr. Li went on to
contracted the corona virus himself and he’d been battling with it and been very
ill with it and on the 7th of February he passed away here on his Wikipedia
page is a bit more information on you know he’s kind of work and his story
around this virus and how he kind of effectively became a whistleblower for
the virus on here it’s got a bit more information so on the 8th of January he
contracted the corona virus himself where he saw an infected patient in his
hospital the patient was suffering from a condition that we call acute angle
closure glaucoma so glaucoma is a condition very common
condition around the world it’s a condition where
you have raised pressure within your eyeball and if left over time it causes
damage to the retina and damage to your sight but the most common type of
glaucoma is what we call a primary open angle glaucoma so these patients
probably certainly this one of the patients he saw had an acute angle
closure glaucoma and that’s a different type of glaucoma it’s a lot less common
and you know it may not be in the case that you know all seven of these
patients had it and maybe that kind of raised the alarm for him as well also it
seems like this individual was a quite a young age so it may have been something
the first is this that seemed unusual that he was getting this cluster of
people who had this angle closure glaucoma and along with their age you
know that would be something I might have raised the suspicion and not who
kind of do further tests so you know just to touch on what angle closure
glaucoma is is it’s a condition where the pressure rise is very very rapidly
it’s very painful so people who have angle closure glaucoma will usually come
in because they get severe pain and this pain is linked with when their pupils
get bigger so for example in the dark their pupils get bigger and this closes
the angle and the angle is where your the fluid at the front of the the front
chamber and I would normally circulate out so if the fluid doesn’t circulate
out because it’s blocked but when the iris enlarges and gets bigger then they
get a sudden spike in pressure which causes a lot of pain in the eye so these
patients would have come in perhaps for that and it seemed like they weren’t
showing any symptoms of fever at the time but as it went on so certainly the
days after he saw them as it highlights here they started to develop fever and
it’s at this point then that Lee then began to suspect that these patients
might have a corona type virus so he went on to do chest scans on them
and you know it was confirmed that they had these chest infections and you know
further diving into it turn you know confirm that these were cases of corona
virus so another interesting fact was that you know his colleague does mention
that most young people don’t go on to do develop severe condition as a result of
having you know these viruses but these were common patients that Lee saw on the
eighth eighth all this particular glaucoma patient was somebody who worked
as a store keeper in the seafood market which is you know the point where they
think this virus was first transmitted from animals to humans and as a result
this individual had quite a high viral load so you you know highly infected
with this virus and it’s part of why you know these individuals that might have
been vulnerable to having this type of glaucoma some reason it’s so some reason
it’s kind of worked its way into the eye possibly caused a condition that we call
uveitis which is an inflammatory condition in the eye and and it could
have been leading what’s led to them having this closed angle and raised
pressure in the eye so it may be that in situations where people have you know
quite a mild exposure to the virus they may not get eye problems like this they
may not get this angle closure glaucoma and they make it you know the mild mild
symptoms and make it fever and things like that but so in these individuals
which you know who might have come from this marketplace the place of origin of
the virus then you know they had very high exposure and that probably also
made it more dangerous for the medical professionals working around them and
made it more likely that they would have caught a severe you know strain severe
level rather of exposure to this virus making a dangerous even for a younger in
the who-who are previously very healthy so
coming over to another article in the South China Morning Post now this
article here from another doctor called dr. Wang Guanfa who is a respiratory
specialist so he deals with problems to do with kind of breathing breathing
conditions which is obviously highly relevant in these type of viral
conditions because people get what we call upper respiratory tract infections
which leads to these breathing problems that’s associated with you know many of
these viruses corona viruses they have flu type live viruses influenza etc now
interestingly enough this doctor tells the story of how he ended up getting the
corona virus as well after going to visit some patients and
by this stage I guess the virus and the spread of the virus was already kind of
noticed and was already kind of being publicized so he talks about how he was
a bit confused initially about how you could have contracted the virus given
that and who’s wearing you know a protective mask to n95 level so that’s
the type of mask I kind of certify for us but all kind of great use in these
kind of environments where viruses may be around but despite that and despite
taking all the precautions and he still contracted the coronavirus and his
conclusion was that you know he could really have only got it through
infection via his eyes and then he says after returning to Beijing and his left
eye became red and he developed conjunctivitis and two to three hours
later he started to come down with a fever and catarrh and he said I initially
just thought it was flu because he hadn’t seen any patients in the wuhan
region who had conjunctivitis but you know anti-flu treatments didn’t prove
helpful at all and the symptoms kind of went on so it
finally took my test and it turned out that he did have the virus so doctor one
thing goes on to say that the most likely explanation he thinks for him
contracting the virus being through his eyes and the fact that he wasn’t wearing
any high protection so if I look at doctor Li who said he passed away and
also dr. Guanfa who recovered from the corona virus and he reports that he
thinks that his transmission I came about through his eyes and again with
dr. Li being an ophthalmologist and working around people who have eye
problems and he came in very close contact
obviously with patients who were appear to be in the area of where this virus
originated from so you know what is this link between the virus and transmission
through the eye and once this virus is airborne through sneezing and coughing
then you know the soft tissues in your nose in your mouth are vulnerable spots
where this virus thing can kind of embed and start to cause you problems and as a
result people obviously advising wearing masks you know not to touch anything etc
but you know the eye is often an area that people kind of overlook and they
may be that them it’s also very vulnerable to droplets if these droplets
get onto your eyelids onto your conjunctiva in the air then you would
give access to this virus to kind of make work its way into your body through
the soft tissues of the conjunctiva and the kind of the skin around there as
well so theoretically then this could manifest itself in a form of
conjunctivitis and in severe cases then it may even progress to a uveitis which
is a flat inflammation further in within the eyes and that can lead to then
perhaps this type of angle closure glaucoma that we saw dr. Li’s patients
will come in in with now that’s probably you know gonna be a very very extreme
situations like these patients who were exposed in the marketplace where the
first transmission from animals to humans was thought to happen and these
individuals had a lot of this virus in their body and it may be in that
situation then yes you may be able to get this type of glaucoma which then
kind of really impacts people in the way that dr. Li was seeing so maybe that
normal exposure this is unlikely to happen and unlikely to progress to that
far now obviously dr. Li being a young
person himself he must have been exposed to quite high levels of this virus which
meant that his whole body was quite overloaded by it and led to his son
death so certainly to me doesn’t seem unreasonable that this virus once it’s
airborne can get onto your eyelids and the eyelashes and onto the soft tissue
of the eyes the conjunctiva and lead to you know risk of a kind of working its
way into your system into your body and into your respiratory tract through the
conjunctiva through the eyes of course obviously the medical community aren’t
quite you know jumping to that conclusion or at least people aren’t
saying that that’s a you know a major risk it may be some kind of risk that
won’t point out that viruses that cause conjunctivitis you know aren’t uncommon
in fact anybody who is an ophthalmologist or optometrist in
training would certainly be aware of viral conditions that can cause quite
severe conjunctivitis you know the the key one being the adenovirus and and
adenovirus conjunctivitis so as a training optometrist I still recall you
know even though it’s been over 20 years now you know they have been taught about
the adenovirus and a demo viral conjunctivitis because of the fact that
you know it’s really drummed into us that if you ever see a case of this in
your practice then you need to take you know serious urgent action straightaway
so namely being able to kind of call ahead to the I departments to make my
way you’re sending this patient over to them
so that they can make the necessary preparation to receive this patient then
once this individual leaves your practice then you have to externalise
all the equipment surfaces you know and there’s many areas of contact as
possible just because the adenovirus is notoriously very very infectious and you
know something that is taken very seriously
now the dental virus much like the corona viruses and influenza etc you
know or are confesses that you know are around and cause people to have upper
respiratory tract infections etc but you know like with many of these viruses
they don’t exist in one form there are several mutations so for example the
adenovirus itself I know that there are at least 50 types of adenovirus by the
way this new corona virus which has been given a title of 2019 novel coronavirus
it’s called novel because of the fact that it has mutated to a new form that
has not been seen before as a result while it’s of the same family as other
corona viruses this new mutation is an unknown entity so there’s lots about it
that isn’t understood yet but it could easily be that it is now a strand that
is you know able to kind of cause you know conjunctiva type inflammatory
conditions etc so we just don’t know though all the four facts about it and
you know more and more informations coming out about it on a daily basis and
when it comes to treating viruses they’re notoriously very difficult to
deal with so in the case of for example there are dental viral conjunctivitis
you can’t use antibacterial eyedrops on them that just doesn’t work you can’t
use steroids on them you know so a lot of the conventional things that you can
use for other conditions just won’t work so as a result you know when it comes to
the general advice of cleaning your hands ready
washing your hands regularly then you may actually find that your bog-standard
antibacterial hand wash sanitizers you know may not always be effective enough
when it comes to some of these more kind of aggressive viruses etc so you know
you might want to invest in you know some kind of medical grade you know hand
sanitizers to use at home so in the description box below
I’ve left an example for you to check out it’s what I use at home and what I
would use in the clinical environment as well and so it’s definitely worth having
a look at something like that for your household and your family so my peace of
mind point for today is that you know why we talked about all of this and it
all seems very gloomy but reality is that 99% of people who get even this
coronavirus and this particular mutation is coronavirus 99% of people who get it
you know will recover won’t have a problem at all and it’ll be mainly all
the people who might have other pre-existing conditions that will be
more prone to more serious issues with this virus the virus is like the corona
virus generally the adenovirus influenza virus these are all viruses that have
been around for a while and often they contribute to us having problems like
upper respiratory tract infections and things like that and you know common
cold is well flu so these viruses aren’t new and they aren’t anything that you
know is overly to worry about you know the main issue that’s going on right now
is containing this new mutation of this virus and stop it spreading to you know
a wider population who don’t have immunity for this virus and you know
again you know with the numbers that we’re talking about and the number of
people who may be infected again because there’s no vaccine for it at the moment
then you know it’s it’s necessary for authorities to try and get as much of a
grip of this as possible so you know it isn’t anything to be overly panicked
about but you do need to practice the advice hygiene and
you know kind of precautions that will protect you and your family as best as
possible for my tip of the day it is basically just to check out the links in
the description box below where I’ve left you know links to you know
reputable organizations like the World Health Organization and the National
Health Service and United Kingdom government recommendation on you know on
the coronavirus and hygiene how to kind of look after yourself and your family
and practice good hygiene so check that out and just make sure that you’re well
informed and then in addition I just say real as far as eyes concerned you know
while people have got face masks on you know depending where you are in the
world you know people aren’t using gloves so you still need to be very
careful about rubbing your eyes and getting things on your eyes you know if
you’re somebody who works directly with infected people obviously it makes sense
to wear glasses and I believe that that advice has now gone out but you know for
average person on the street just be aware of your hands and be aware of
rubbing your eyes and again just like you would a normal kind of virus you
know or conjunctivitis type advice you know avoid sharing towels and things
like that as much as possible and anything where you can cross contaminate
so my question for you today is has this coronavirus affected you or anybody that
you know close to you leave me a comment in the comment section below and I love
to read your feedback in your comments on this particular video so take care
and I’ll see you in the next video

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