Purpose of review
To provide a summary of the neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), documented in the literature thus far.
A small but growing literature documents cases of new onset neuro-ophthalmic disease, in the setting of COVID-19 infection. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced acute onset vision loss, optic neuritis, cranial neuropathies, and Miller Fisher syndrome. In addition, COVID-19 increases the risk of cerebrovascular diseases that can impact the visual system.
The literature on COVID-19 continues to evolve. Although COVID-19 primarily impacts the respiratory system, there are several reports of new onset neuro-ophthalmic conditions in COVID-infected patients. When patients present with new onset neuro-ophthalmic issues, COVID-19 should be kept on the differential. Testing for COVID-19 should be considered, especially when fever or respiratory symptoms are also present. When screening general patients for COVID-19-associated symptoms, frontline physicians can consider including questions about diplopia, eye pain, pain with extraocular movements, decreased vision, gait issues, and other neurologic symptoms. The presence of these symptoms may increase the overall probability of viral infection, especially when fever or respiratory symptoms are present. More research is needed to establish a causal relationship between COVID-19 and neuro-ophthalmic disease, and better understand pathogenesis.