Request. I underwent a vitrectomy and still apply eye drops several times a day. Can I have the Covid vaccine booster? A thousand thanks.
Reply. The majority of the rare side effects of the Covid19 vaccine are mild and indicate that the body is building protection against the virus; these side effects do not include symptoms related to the eyes or vision, except for rare transient disturbances of the microcirculation. It should be emphasized that, compared to a COVID-19 infection, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the very rare risks reported in the literature. On the other hand, there are some cases in the literature of COVID-19 ocular manifestations on the retina: the virus can affect ganglion cells and internal retinal plexiform layers, optic discs and can cause neuro-ophthalmological manifestations. Therefore, vaccination also protects against any rare ocular complications from Covid19. The vitrectomy surgery does not therefore represent a contraindication to vaccination, on the other hand the presence of pre-existing ocular diseases could increase the risk of retinal ocular complications, albeit rare, if one were affected by Covid19; therefore the antiCovid 19 vaccine would also be protective for the ocular structures. In conclusion, as demonstrated in phase III clinical trials, the main vaccines in production are safe and effective in protecting patients from serious symptoms and diseases, including ocular manifestations, due to COVID-19.
* Lia Giustolisi, head of the Diagnosis and Treatment Center of maculopathies at the Policlinico Umberto I in Rome