Participants experienced no significant change in posterior segment retinal structures and vascular density parameters after administration of the CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine for COVID-19, according to a report published in Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy.   

Researchers assessed 40 eyes of 40 participants, (mean age 33.05±8.61 years, 50% women) and performed complete eye examinations at baseline and follow up less than 1 week after initial assessment. They used optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) to obtain mean measurements of the following, before and after administration of the vaccine, respectively: foveal avascular zone (0.27±0.02 mm2, 0.28±0.02 mm2), choriocapillaris blood flow (2.10±0.02 mm2, 2.11±0.02 mm2), retinal foveal thickness (246.95±4.79 µm, 246.16±4.57 µm), and optic disc whole images (56.21±0.44 %, 56.03±0.41 %). 

A small group of participants did report minor ocular symptoms with 2 having redness, 2 experiencing itching, and 2 reporting burning and stinging in the eye (all 5%). 


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“No significant difference was found between vascular density values and retinal thickness values before and after vaccination,” according to the investigators. “This demonstrates that CoronaVac vaccine has no side effects on retinal and optic disc vascular flow and retinal thickness.”

Study limitations include a small sample size and the analysis of only 1 type of vaccine. Although a few case reports exist, this is the first study that evaluates the effect the CoronaVac vaccine may have on retinal and optic disc vascular values.

Reference

Birumut G, Bozdogan YC, Yavuz S, Durmaz D, Erol MK. The assessment of retina and optic disc vascular structures in people who received Coronavac vaccine. Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther. Published online January 31, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.pdpdt.2022.102742