If you currently wear contact lenses, here is what you should know about your risk for coronavirus infection. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.
The coronavirus crisis has necessitated numerous lifestyle adjustments from everyone – from social distancing, to working from home, to being vigilant about handwashing and face masks. However, not much is said about contact lenses, and how they may or may not contribute to coronavirus transmission.
It is important to note that contact lenses themselves to not make wearers more vulnerable to coronavirus. However, the fact that, by necessity, wearers touch their eyes far more frequently than non-contact lens wearers might raise the risk of coronavirus transmission. The virus can be transmitted through inhalation of infected respiratory droplets, from infected respiratory droplets getting into the eyes, and from touching an infected surface and then touching the eyes.
In order to minimize risk of coronavirus transmission, it might be a good idea to switch from contact lenses to glasses, particularly if you must go outdoors and are at risk of viral exposure. Wearing glasses while out in the open may also reduce the risk of infected respiratory droplets getting into the eyes, though eyeglasses won’t provide 100 percent protection.
If you decide to continue wearing contact lenses, here are a few things that can reduce your risk of coronavirus transmission.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Because many contact lens wearers inadvertently touch their eyes, it is extremely important to make you’re your hands are scrupulously clean. Always wash your hands carefully for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before touching your face and handing your contacts.
- Use artificial tears that are approved for contact lens wear. Dry eyes may encourage rubbing. If your eyes feel itchy or dry, add a few drops of artificial tears – don’t rub your eyes.
- Follow contact lens maintenance best practices. Most contact lens wearers initially practice impeccable maintenance and hygiene, but after a few months or years many people become lax, either not washing hands thoroughly before handling the lenses or reusing solution, or taking other shortcuts. It is extremely important to be meticulous when caring for your lenses. Make sure you engage in proper contact lens maintenance every day. Do not use lenses beyond their manufacturer-suggested expiration date. Make sure to immediately replace lenses that have become cloudy.
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.