The COVID-19 vaccines are advertised frequently, but there is limited discussion about their possible side effects by the mainstream media and the government.
Some scientific studies have reported cases of blindness and eye damage as adverse events related to vaccines. Although the specific mechanism causing these eye injuries is still unclear, medical literature does document occurrences of these issues.
Actually, there are several case studies and reports suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines could potentially cause harm to the eyes.
The journal Vaccines published a review in September 2022 that examined cases of optic neuropathy resulting from COVID-19 vaccination. The review was conducted by a team of seven researchers from Egypt and the United States who believed that COVID-19 vaccines might impact the eye, based on the knowledge that COVID-19 infections can cause ocular changes.
A team looked at 45 cases where patients experienced eye problems after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The scientists observed that all types of COVID-19 vaccines- mRNA, viral vector, and inactivated viral vaccines were linked to optic neuropathy. They also noted that a cause-effect relationship was likely because the eye problems occurred soon after getting vaccinated.
Many Different Types of Eye Problems
In November 2021, a systematic review was published in the journal Vaccines by ophthalmologists at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. According to this review, patients experienced various issues in different parts of the eye, including the eyelid, cornea, surface, retina, uvea (middle layer), optic nerves, and blood vessels.
Although they found that ocular problems after COVID-19 infections were more prevalent than those after COVID-19 vaccination, they advised healthcare providers to “consider the potential link between COVID-19 vaccines and ocular symptoms…”
In September 2021, a study was published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports about an ophthalmologist in Thailand who experienced blurred vision after receiving his second dose of the Chinese CoronaVac and Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccines. The team of six Thai ophthalmologists and researchers who wrote the study suggested that the vaccines may have caused the narrowing of the optic artery, which led to the ophthalmologist’s vision problems.
As per the case study, the eye doctor, who was healthy otherwise, suffered from blurred vision in both eyes. The symptoms occurred an hour after taking the second vaccine dose. The eye doctor had a history of dyslipidemia for ten years, but he was managing it by consuming 20 mg of Rosuvastatin daily.
He didn’t have any serious adverse reactions after his first vaccine, except for some mild soreness at the injection site. But after receiving the second vaccine on April 21, 2021, he experienced blurred vision just 40 minutes later. He described it as feeling like he was looking at the world through water and did not report any headaches or weakness.
Despite feeling bothered by his blurred vision, he visited urgent care where the only additional symptom discovered was slightly high blood pressure. An MRI was conducted two hours after the vision issues began and he was subsequently hospitalized. Treatment included intravenous fluids and an oral dose of 325 mg aspirin.
The individual fully recovered and his vision even improved within a few hours. Nevertheless, this case has led the scientists to recommend that medical staff and eye doctors should keep in mind the possibility of eye problems after vaccination.
Central Retinal Vein Occlusion
CRVO is a condition in which the main vein responsible for draining blood from the retina gets blocked partially or completely. This can cause blurry eyesight and other serious eye problems. If the condition worsens, it can result in eye pain, redness, and irritation.
The American Society of Retina Specialists states that although the exact cause of CRVO is unknown, individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure have a greater risk of developing it. CRVO may occur due to restricted blood flow or a blood clot in the central retinal vein.
In January 2022, the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology published a report by four ophthalmologists from Aravind Eye Hospital in Pondicherry, India. The report described two cases of central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) that occurred shortly after the patients received their second dose of the CoviShield vaccine.
The CoviShield vaccine is made by the Serum Institute of India using an attenuated version of an adenovirus, similar to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. However, there have also been reports of central retinal vein occlusion occurring after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. For example, a 52-year-old man with no history of eye problems experienced sudden blurred vision in his left eye for one day, 15 days after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. There were no other symptoms.
A 50-year-old man who was considered healthy, didn’t smoke, and had a normal weight, experienced a similar issue. The eye injury happened right after he received the second Pfizer vaccine. Within 15 minutes, the patient experienced pain behind his left eye, redness, and difficulty seeing. Researchers in Chicago have reported another case of post-vaccination symptoms, similar to previous reports. This instance occurred three days after the second Pfizer dose and included acute symptoms such as severe nausea, moderate diarrhea, disorientation, and severe fatigue.
There have been reports of Japanese eye doctors observing similar cases of vision loss following the second dose of the Moderna mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273). In one instance, a 54-year-old woman at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital experienced sudden and severe vision loss in her right eye eight days after receiving the vaccine. Her eye was so affected that she was unable to distinguish between light and dark. Upon examination, doctors discovered widespread hemorrhaging and swelling in her eye. Researchers suspect that blood clots in her retinal blood vessels caused her blindness, possibly due to the vaccine.
No Known Cure
The National Eye Institute states that CRVO is incurable, but treatment can enhance vision and prevent symptoms from getting worse.