Retinal Imaging Study Diagnoses in COVID-19

A Case Report

José M. Ortiz-Egea; Jorge Ruiz-Medrano; José M. Ruiz-Moreno


J Med Case Reports. 2021;15(15) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Hyperreflective lesions at the level of ganglion cell (GCL) and inner plexiform retinal layers (IPL) by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and cotton wool spots in the examination of the eye fundus have recently been described as findings in patients with COVID-19 infection.

Case Report: We report the case of a 42-year-old healthy Caucasian male anesthetist who had treated COVID-19 patients during the previous 5 weeks and suddenly presented with a temporal relative scotoma in his left eye. Best-corrected visual acuity was 20/20 for the left eye, and no discromatopsy or afferent pupillary defect was present. Visual field test was performed, with no significant findings associated with the focal loss of sensitivity described by the patient. The anterior segment was unremarkable on slit lamp examination in both eyes. Fundus examination of the left eye showed no significant findings. A placoid, hyperreflective band at the level of the GCL and IPL was visible in OCT which spared the outer retina, at the time of diagnosis and 1 month later. An oropharyngeal swab test was performed for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ribonucleic acid (RNA), immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) determination. Real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was negative. ELISA testing and a third rapid antibody detection test performed 7 days after the onset of symptoms were positive.

Conclusions: Ocular signs and symptoms in COVID-19 cases are rarely reported, but may be underestimated, especially those that affect the retina and occur in asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic cases. We present a case of COVID-19 diagnosis based on retinal ophthalmic examination.