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Guidance on Wearing Contact Lenses Amid COVID-19

13th Jul 2020

With the outbreak of coronavirus sweeping across the world, a lot of fake news and misinformation is circulating regarding its spread. Look for reputable sources for information like WHO (World Health Organization) to be sure. Approximately 140 million people in the world wear contact lenses to correct their impaired vision. Contacts are like a necessity to them, it gives them comfort and convenience. As COVID-19 situation is reaching new heights, contact wearers are worried that touching the eyes might aggravate the risk for them. They are seeking answers from their eye care professional for more authentic and accurate information about eye health and care. Currently there is no evidence that supports that there is an increased risk of infection or coming in contact with conorana virus for lens wearers. They are as safe as people who wear glasses.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 due to the handling or wearing of contact lenses. But as the contacts can cause irritation or itching, wearers tend to touch their eye area more often, which increases the risk of acquiring the virus. To be sure that the infection is at bay and you have a smooth and safest contact lens wearing experience, proper hygiene must be the top priority. The hand washing method that has been told by reliable sources must be enforced in our daily routines. Washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and drying hands with lint free towels is a must before handling contacts. Follow strict measures for optimal wear and care procedures. There is a tsunami of information and advice on a daily basis for hygiene and prevention from the novel coronavirus. Guidance, details, facts and information are ranging from authentic and credible to evidence-based to more sensational and speculative ones. We are all trying our best to come to terms with this new way of life and to implement it in our lives, in the best possible way.

Contact lens wearers should keep asking themselves questions like; is there any discomfort? Is there any redness? Do I see well? No blurred or hazy vision? If any of the answers are yes, discontinue the lenses and visit your optometrist. They should also avoid wearing contacts if they are unwell or have symptoms like cough, fever or flu. Evade touching eyes in high-risk environments as well.

You have to touch your face in order to properly insert contact lens, which has raised fear among people. Many people are switching to glasses for prevention. But it’s not scientifically proven that glasses or spectacles offer better protection against COVID-19. The virus is transmitted from one person to another when they come in contact with infected surfaces or are close enough from an infected person. That is why so much emphasis is given to hand washing as touching eyes, nose, glasses or mouth can infect a person. Healthy people can enjoy the freedom and comfort of lenses, by properly following lens wear and care instructions. If you ran out of lenses, buy contact lenses online to limit person to person interaction.

There is a deluge and overload of information, which is sometimes misleading and at other times conflicting. Here we have assembled complete guidance on wearing contact lenses amid this pandemic.

Wash your hands frequently

Only a small number of germs or infections are airborne, they mostly spread from person to person or get picked up from contaminated surfaces. Novel coronavirus bacteria can stay on surfaces for a significant amount of time. For this reason there is so much stress and emphasis on washing hands at regular intervals, before touching your face or eyes and after coming from outside. When using contacts or glasses one should properly exercise the hand washing method. Use soap and water for 20 seconds and dry your hands with unused towels or tissues. This must be done after every insertion and removal of contact lenses. If the soap and water are not available freely, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it. Hand washing is paramount in this scenario and plays a pivotal part in keeping you safe.

Proper disinfection of contact lenses and glasses

Either wear a disposable lens every day or regularly disinfect your weekly, monthly or 6 monthly lens according to instructions given by your eye care professional and that written on the lens solution bottle. Some viruses can stay on hard surfaces for days, which can be transferred to the fingers of glasses and lens wearers. It’s especially true for presbyopes, who need reading glasses. They have to take off and put them on, multiple times a day. These people should adhere to the hand washing rules to beat the novel coronavirus. Always rub and rinse contact lenses with disinfecting solution, not with water, distilled water or saliva.

Care for the case

After inserting the lens, always discard the remaining solution. Completely disinfect and clean the case with lens solution, never with plain tap water! Allow to air dry it completely every time you remove the lens from it. Making it squeaky clean and disinfected for the next use. Replace your case after every three months or after having symptoms like cold, flu and fever.

Avoid lenses if you feel sick

Cease the use of contact lenses if you feel sick, experience redness, irritation or itchiness, cold-flu symptoms or any other ocular symptoms.

Replace you lens

Respect that expiry date mentioned on the contact lens as well as the lens solution. It’s important to replace your lenses according to the expiry date. Even during the pandemic, there is no problem to buy contact lenses online or from stores. No laws have been suspended, waived and introduced regarding contact lens prescription.

The most important point to take away from this article is that there is no scientific proof that contact lens wearers are at a higher risk of infection. Focus on hygiene and frequent hand washing will ensure you are safe from COVID-19. 

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