Eye Safety During Coronavirus Crisis

Here are a few tips for optimizing your eye health during the COVID-19 crisis. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Eye protection – along with washing your hands frequently and shielding your mouth and nose – can help you avoid being infected by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a virus that targets the respiratory system, causing sometimes fatal bouts of respiratory illness. COVID-19 infection symptoms include fever, body aches, cough, shortness of breath, and gastric distress in some patients. Though many patients are symptomless, those who do develop symptoms generally do so anywhere between two days and two weeks after being exposed.

There is still a great deal that isn’t known about the progression of COVID-19; it’s what is known as a novel virus, meaning that no human being has ever been infected with it, and no one was immune when it first spread. It is highly contagious, and can be spread via inhalation or eye contact from respiratory droplets being propelled when a person sneezes or coughs, and when a person touches something with the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.

Because the virus can be transmitted through contact with the eyes, many optometrists are not seeing patients for routine eye examinations during the pandemic, though emergency services will still be available. Here are a few tips that will help you your eyes healthy during the COVID-19 crisis, until regular optometry services resume.

  • Try to wear glasses instead of contact lenses. While contact lenses themselves do not increase your risk for COVID-19, it is necessary to touch your eyes periodically – if only to put in, adjust, and remove lenses – which may transmit the virus to your eyes. Switching to glasses, particularly if you have to go out, will significantly reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. Additionally, glasses might help block respiratory droplets from your eyes, though they won’t provide 100 percent protection.

  • Try to stock up on eye medications if possible. If your insurance permits it, try to get a month’s worth of eye medications if you have glaucoma or other eye conditions that require treatment. Many insurance policies allow the purchase of up to three months’ worth of medications in the event of a natural disaster.

  • Be vigilant about your hygiene. While most of us believe that we are careful about our personal hygiene, we unthinkingly engage in behaviors that make us vulnerable to infection. Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes without first washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. When using hand sanitizer, rub vigorously and make sure it covers the palms, back of the hands, the space between the fingers, and under the nails. Disinfect doorknobs and common surfaces multiple times per day.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s leading optometrists, having practiced for more than 20 years. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.