SARS-CoV-2 on the ocular surface: is it truly a novel transmission route?

Xuhui Chen, Huimin Yu, Ting Mei, Bo Chen, Liwen Chen, Shanling Li, Xian Zhang, Xufang Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Since December 2019, the novel COVID-19 outbreak has spread rapidly around the globe and infected millions of people. Although the major transmission route of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is considered to be airborne droplets and close contact, the ocular transmission route has been reported with great concern. The current work summarises the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, the ocular distribution of the major SARS-CoV-2 binding protein, and the experimental and clinical evidence of the ocular transmission route. Although it seems that the likelihood of the ocular surface being an infection gateway is low, SARS-CoV-2 infection or transmission via the ocular surface may cause conjunctivitis and other ocular discomfort. Therefore, good eye protection is an essential safeguard procedure, especially for medical staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1190-1195
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Conjunctiva
  • Microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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