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).
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.
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.
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.