While serious eye conditions remained prioritised, many patients were too fearful to attend essential clinic appointments. Statistics showed that there was a 79% reduction in ophthalmic appointments in the UK (the highest of any medical specialty) during the pandemic. It is estimated that more than three thousand people have lost vision due to delays in the identification and treatment of eye disease during the pandemic (2). The pandemic crisis will end, sooner or later but the real challenge remains: the episodes of avoidable sight loss that may have occurred due to backlog of services.
The eyes can be implicated in the initial presentation of COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, a minority of cases have presented with ocular symptoms. At times, ocular complaints have also been found to precede respiratory complaints or be the only presenting complaint of COVID-19. Ocular complaints also appear to be possibly linked with more severe disease processes clinically and biochemically. Consequently, it is important to consider COVID-19 in patients with new conjunctivitis or ocular complaints.