Speaking from his hospital bed, Fair said that he had been on a crowded flight two weeks earlier, and he wore a mask and gloves and wiped down his seat, but he didn’t have any protection over his eyes.
“You can still get this virus through your eyes, and epidemiologically, it’s the best guess I have of probably how I got it,” Fair said. He said his symptoms started three or four days later.
The idea that you can get the virus through your eyes isn’t new, but it hasn’t been discussed much compared with the risk of infection through the nose and mouth.
“Any sort of open mucosa [mucous membrane] is a chance for a droplet to land there and get into your body,” says Dr. Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School. It’s known that the virus can be transmitted through the eyes, but “it’s hard to quantify exactly what the risk is in terms [of] through the eye specifically,” he says.
According to the CDC, the nose and mouth are the main avenues by which you can catch the coronavirus, but “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.”