Are glasses a safer option than contact lenses during the COVID-19 crisis? Here is what contact lens wearers should know about COVID-19 transmission. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.
Switching from contact lenses to eyeglasses might help reduce your risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Academy of Ophthalmology.
This group of eye doctors has suggested that glasses might provide a layer of protection – albeit minor – from airborne transmission from respiratory droplets, though there are no scientific studies verifying this assertion. Nevertheless, while the suggestion that glasses may act as a virus shield is somewhat controversial, it is true that contact lens wearers do touch their eyes more than non-contact lens wearers, and the virus can be transmitted by touching the eyes. This may make contact lens wearers more at risk for viral infection.
If you experience occasional itchiness or discomfort while wearing contact lenses, consider switching to glasses until the COVID-19 threat passes. Many of us touch our eyes or scratch automatically, and this can be a difficult habit to break, so if you can’t shelter in place and think that you could come in contact with a person infected with COVID-19, wearing glasses might be the safer option.
Wearing glasses instead of contacts is certainly the best option if you are already sick, even if you are not sick with COVID-19.
However, contact lenses are medical devices for vision correction, and they can be worn safely if proper contact lens protocols are rigorously maintained. Moreover, disposable lenses offer the best, most hygienic option, because they do not have to be stored and handled frequently.
If you must wear contact lenses – either due to personal preference or because you cannot wear glasses for work-related reasons – here are a few tips that can lower your risk for COVID-19 transmission.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly. Proper and frequent handwashing may be the best weapon against COVID-19 transmission. Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, and make sure you vigorously wash the palms, backs of the hands, between the fingers, the thumbs, and under the nails.
- Care for your contacts according to manufacturer guidelines. Do not take shortcuts when caring for your contacts. If you wear daily disposable lenses, do not use them longer than explicitly stated on the package. If you wear two-week or monthly contact lenses, use an approved disinfectant solution every time you store them.
Regardless of whether you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure you thoroughly disinfect anything that comes in contact with your face.
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.