A nine-year-old boy spent Christmas in hospital and almost went partially blind from a rare side effect linked to coronavirus.
Year 5 pupil Zac Morey lost his vision in his left eye less than a week after testing positive for Covid-19.
His eye completely closed up during the terrifying ordeal after he was diagnosed with orbital cellulitis – a skin infection that some scientists have linked to the virus.
Zac was placed on an IV drip at Bristol Royal Hospital for children after his eye became severely swollen.
He has since fully recovered, but his family have issued a warning over the unusual symptom.
Mum Angela, 37, said: ‘His eye looked like it was going to explode. There was no way he could open it without pulling the skin. It was swollen beyond anything I’ve ever seen.’
Zac’s eye problem started after he tested positive for Covid along with his mother and four siblings on December 16.
The pupil, from Bristol, suffered cold-like symptoms and spent his self-isolation period playing computer games at home.
But on December 22 – when he twice tested negative for Covid and his mild symptoms had gone – he developed pain in his left eye.
Angela, a local councillor and mum-of-five, said: ‘I thought it just been on the computer for seven days solid so didn’t think anything of it.
‘But by Christmas Eve it was not good at all. We took him to hospital and he was put on an antibiotic drip until Boxing Day.
‘They said if it goes too far into the eye then it can cause blindness. The doctors said it was an allergic reaction to the virus that affects children.’
Zac was discharged from hospital on Boxing Day after undergoing an eye test that confirmed his vision had fully recovered.
The World Health Organisation lists red and irritated eyes as an uncommon side effect of Covid-19, while various studies have linked orbital cellulitis and coronavirus.
A study earlier this year on eye-related Covid symptoms found: ‘Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 can present with acute conjunctivitis symptoms, including eye redness, ocular irritation, eye soreness, foreign body sensation, tearing, mucoid discharge, eyelid swelling, congestion and chemosis.’
On its website, Specsavers advises: ‘Coronavirus can cause conjunctivitis, however it’s quite rare — occurring in about 1-3 per cent of affected people and is on the less frequent symptoms list by the World Health Organisation.
‘Conjunctivitis associated with Covid-19 tends to occur in the later stages of the disease, alongside more common symptoms such as a continuous cough and fever.’
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