How respiratory viruses affect the eye

25 May 2023
Acuity digital

It is rare for respiratory viruses to cause eye infections, writes Kim Thomas, but they may use the eye as a portal of entry. And what is the mechanism behind their travel to the respiratory system?

Respiratory viruses are typically transmitted in one of two ways. Flu, for example, is transmitted when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks, emitting droplets or aerosols that land in the nose or mouth of a nearby person. Conversely, adenovirus spreads when someone touches an infected object (a fomite) and then touches their nose, mouth or eye. In both cases, once the virus reaches the nasopharynx (the back of the throat), it replicates very quickly, and then spreads to the lungs and gut.

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