People with severe COVID-19 may be at risk for serious eye problems, a new study suggests.

The study researchers analyzed information from 129 patients in France who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and underwent brain scans with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Of these, nine patients, or 7%, showed signs of eye abnormalities. Specifically, the MRIs showed abnormalities called “nodules” at the back of their eyes, which can be signs of inflammation or direct damage to the eye, study lead author Dr. Augustin Lecler, an associate professor at the University of Paris, told Live Science in an email.

All nine patients had nodules in the macula, which is responsible for central vision, meaning the ability to see clearly in front of you. Eight of the patients had “bilateral” nodules, meaning they occurred in both eyes.

A new study found signs of eye abnormalities on MRI scans of patients with severe COVID-19. Above, brain MRI scans of a 56-year-old patient with COVID-19 showing "nodules" at the back of his eyes (indicated with arrows), which can be signs of inflammation or direct damage to the eye.

A new study found signs of eye abnormalities on MRI scans of patients with severe COVID-19. Above, brain MRI scans of a 56-year-old patient with COVID-19 showing “nodules” at the back of his eyes  (indicated with arrows), which can be signs of inflammation or direct damage to the eye. (Image credit: Radiological Society of North America)



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