Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Affect Your Vision?

COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the United States, with all American adults now eligible for a vaccine. Multiple vaccines have been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including those from BioNTech and Pfizer. However, many people still wonder about possible side effects –  Especially in regards to vision. There is no evidence to indicate that the COVID-19 vaccine may have any widespread side effects related to eyesight.

Vision & COVID-19 Vaccines

A COVID vaccine can help reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus. If a person does become infected, the vaccine can minimize the severity of symptoms. This helps to protect individuals, those close to them, and the broader population. The more severe side effects resulting from vaccination are rare. More common side effects include:
COVID-19 Vaccine Looking Glass Optical

  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache

There have not been widespread reports of vision and COVID vaccine-related issues.

The Impact of COVID Infection on Eyesight

Although the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t appear to cause eye-related side effects, a COVID-19 infection can impact vision.

According to one survey of COVID-19 cases in children, nearly one-quarter of kids infected with the virus displayed ocular symptoms. Reported issues include conjunctival discharge, swelling of the eyelid, ocular pain, conjunctival congestion, and eye rubbing, swelling, and tearing. Kids with a cough or other systemic symptoms were almost two times as likely to present these symptoms.

Another study solicited self-reported symptoms from people (including adults) who had a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. According to the survey results, 17% of respondents experienced itchy eyes, and 16% experienced sore eyes. Another 18% experienced photophobia (sensitivity to light).

Further, COVID-19 isn’t the only viral infection that’s been shown to cause ocular problems. Measles causes conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), resulting in red and watery eyes. It can also cause more severe issues, like corneal infection and scarring – and even blindness.

Other Vaccines and Vision

Vision and COVID vaccine issues have not been widely connected thus far. Although it is important to know other vaccines have been linked with eye-related side effects in the past.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine

The seasonal flu vaccine sometimes causes ocular symptoms like eye pain, redness, and blurred vision. These issues are rare, however. More common side effects include swelling and pain at the injection site, headache, and fever. In addition nausea, and muscle aches.

Chickenpox and Shingles Vaccine

Research has found that people who receive the zoster virus vaccine (for chickenpox and shingles) may experience eye issues. One study found that vaccinated individuals experienced a rare side effect of corneal inflammation. However, the side effect was again infrequent.

Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Vaccine

In rare instances, the MMR vaccine has led to an ocular complication known as optic neuritis. This is characterized by optic nerve inflammation. If not caught and treated in time, it can result in decreased visual acuity and permanent optic nerve damage.

Comprehensive Vision Care from Looking Glass Optical

Vision and COVID vaccine issues don’t appear to have any strong links. However, if you experience any side effects following vaccination, you should consult a healthcare professional immediately. You should also report your symptoms to the appropriate reporting system for data collection purposes. For eye-related symptoms, consult Looking Glass Optical.

You can request an appointment online. Also, check out our blog on fact-based information on everything from how air quality impacts ocular health to the dangers of tanning for eyesight. However, if you ever have a question about your eye health, please contact us.