New research offers facts and hygiene advice during COVID-19 pandemic
Peer-Reviewed Paper reinforces need for hand washing, warns that wearing glasses does not reduce risk of infection
Moving swiftly to address and correct harmful myths and misinformation, a new peer-reviewed paper from five ocular scientists reassures contact lens wearers during the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners” offers five important facts for anyone who relies on contact lenses or eyeglasses:
- You Can Keep Wearing Contact Lenses. There is currently no scientific evidence that contact lens wearers have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 compared with glasses wearers. Consult your eye care practitioner with questions.
- Good Hygiene Habits are Critical. Thorough handwashing and drying are essential, as well as properly wearing and caring for contact lenses, ensuring good contact lens case hygiene, and regularly cleaning glasses with soap and water.
- Regular Eyeglasses / Spectacles Do Not Provide Protection. No scientific evidence supports rumors that everyday eyeglasses offer protection against COVID-19.
- Keep Unwashed Hands Away from Your Face. Whether you wear contact lenses, glasses or require no vision correction at all, avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands, consistent with World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
- If You Are Sick, Temporarily Stop Wearing Contact Lenses. Contact lens wearers who are ill should temporarily revert to wearing eyeglasses. Resume use with fresh, new contact lenses and lens cases once you return to full health and have spoken with your eye care practitioner.
On April 8, the CDC issued updated guidance on contact lens wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, further supporting key findings from the Contact Lens & Anterior Eye paper.
The CDC also points out that personal eyeglasses and contact lenses do not qualify as personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Millions of people are asking how COVID-19 affects eye care, especially since approximately two out of every three adults worldwide wear contact lenses, spectacles or eyeglasses. Unfortunately, misinformation has become widespread in recent days,” said Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo and the paper’s lead author, in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to make sure that science-backed truths are understood and shared, replacing fear with fact.”
“Our findings indicate that contact lenses remain a perfectly acceptable form of vision correction during the coronavirus pandemic, as long as people practice good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions.”