As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world this year to such devastating effect, many of us were asking the same questions. How does the virus spread? How do I protect myself from the infection?
The truth is, we're still learning how SARS-CoV-2 works. Official guidance from the CDC suggests the main way the virus spreads is through respiratory droplets or small particles, ejected from the mouth or nose of infected people, and then inhaled by others.
But that's not the only way the virus circulates. The same infectious droplets and particles can land on surfaces and be transferred by touch – meaning infection could result if you touch something with virus particles on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, the CDC says.
While this general advice is repeated by health authorities the world over, there's still a lot we don't know about how the coronavirus might enter the body through the eyes, although scientists suggest it's "biologically plausible".
However, new evidence suggests at least some of the eye may in fact be resistant to SARS-CoV-2 – even while it's susceptible to other kinds of viruses.
In a new study, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that the cornea – the transparent dome at the front of the eye, which covers the iris and pupil – appeared to be resistant to coronavirus infection in experiments, although they're eager to emphasise the findings are only preliminary. Read more >>