Management of conjunctivitis and other causes of red eye during the COVID-19 pandemic

Heather G. Mack, Jane Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Patients with red eyes frequently present to general practitioners (GPs). Although infrequent, some patients with COVID-19 may present with features typical of viral conjunctivitis. SARS-CoV-2 is expressed at a low rate in tears, which may be a source of infection to GPs caring for patients at high risk of COVID‑19. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this article are to outline: 1) ophthalmic complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection, 2) triage and management of patients with potential COVID-19 conjunctivitis, and 3) triage and management of patients with red eyes during the current COVID-19 pandemic. DISCUSSION: It is important that GPs: 1) have a high index of suspicion that patients with apparently typical viral conjunctivitis may have an uncommon presentation of COVID-19 illness, 2) develop appropriate telephone triage systems to reduce patient consultations, and 3) foster relationships with their ophthalmologist and optometrist colleagues who can provide phone advice, guidance on treatment initiation and definitive care when necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-661
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian journal of general practice
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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