A routine eye examination can allow doctors to detect Long Covid in patients, according to scientists.
A team in Turkey led by Gulfidan Bitirgen from Necmettin Erbakan University made the discovery.
According to the new research from scientists, patients suffering from Long Covid will have nerve damage in the cornea, which covers the front portion of the eye.
In the published paper following the research, experts wrote: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting corneal nerve loss and an increase in DC density in patients who have recovered from Covid-19, especially in subjects with persisting symptoms consistent with long Covid.
“Corneal confocal microscopy may have clinical utility as a rapid objective ophthalmic test to evaluate patients with long Covid.”
The added: “These findings are consistent with an innate immune and inflammatory process characterised by the migration and accumulation of DCs in the central cornea in a number of immune mediated and inflammatory conditions.”
A corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) can detect nerve damage in the front portion of the eye. Damage to the cornea can suggests other disorders and illnesses, such as fibromyalgia.
Earlier this month, figures released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested 962,000 people in the UK were experiencing long Covid in the four weeks to June 6, defined as symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after their first suspected coronavirus infection.
Common long Covid symptoms you should look out for include:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- heart palpitations
- pins and needles
- joint pain
- depression and anxiety
- tinnitus, earaches
- feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste