Contact Lenses and Coronavirus – What You Need to Know

March 31, 2020

With everyone on hyper-alert as we work our way through the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s a good bet that you’re taking extra steps to protect your health. If you wear contacts, you may be wondering if it’s safe. The team at Pro-Optix Eye Care has thoroughly researched the traits of the virus and we’re eager to share our research with you.  


One of the easiest ways for the virus to enter the body is through contact with any of the mucous membranes, especially the eyes, nose and mouth. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the tiny droplets of moisture that leave their body can land on other people or on nearby objects. These droplets contain the virus, which can be transmitted to others when the droplets fall directly on them, or when the virus is “picked up” from surfaces where the droplets have landed. The hands introduce the virus to the body by touching the eyes, nose or mouth.  


So how do you reduce your chances of becoming infected with the coronavirus? 


Consider switching to glasses for a while – People who wear contact lenses touch their eyes more often than those who don’t. Wearing your glasses is a great way to limit how often you touch your eyes. They’re a natural barrier that also can deflect the droplets that approach you head-on when an infected person sneezes or coughs. While moisture can enter the eyes from the exposed sides, tops or bottoms of your glasses, over all you will have less exposure to airborne germs. If you must touch your face, wash your hands or place a tissue over your fingers first. 


Wearing your glasses can also protect you from conjunctivitis (pink eye), an inflammation of the thin, transparent layer that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. A small number of people (1%-3%) infected with coronavirus develop conjunctivitis.  


It’s important to clean your eyeglasses before wearing them. Wash with warm, soapy water or wipe them thoroughly with a disinfecting wipe made especially for your specs. You want to keep those trendy designer frames sparkling clean! 


If you do decide to wear your contact lenses while following the FDA guidelines during the coronavirus threat, make sure to follow these important steps to ensure your safety. 


Wash your hands frequently – Wash your hands carefully every time you handle your contact lenses. Follow the 20 second rule when soaping your hands and use warm water. You’ll be catching people humming “Happy Birthday” as they wash; two rounds of the song will take about 20 seconds to complete. If that’s been getting a little boring, change up your routine by substituting your favorite song. Wash Your Lyrics is taking the world by storm – this popular site pulls 20 seconds of lyrics from your favorite song when you enter the title and artist into the online generator. If you can’t wash with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Coat your hands thoroughly and rub briskly until the liquid is dry. 


Double down on disinfection – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when cleaning and handling your lenses. You can get more helpful tips here. If you aren’t wearing daily use lenses, now is the perfect time to ask your optometrist if you can give them a try. You never have to clean or store them! 


Expect healthy changes at your optometrist’s office – If you’re due for a vision test or are having issues with your eyes, rest assured that your eye doctor is taking steps to protect your health. You may be asked to wait in your car before your appointment, or to leave 6 feet between yourself and others in the waiting room. Your doctor may ask you to reschedule any non-essential treatments and surgeries or may extend additional refills on any eye medications you may use. Your doctor may wear protective equipment such as masks or plastic eye goggles or install protective plastic breath shields on their equipment. Staff members will wipe and disinfect all touch points such as doorknobs, equipment, payment portals and other objects after each patient. 


Call 713-360-7095 today to schedule an appointment with the Tanglewood/Galleria Area’s leading optometrists, because taking care of your sight is even more important as we move into the next phase of defeating the coronavirus. 


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Houston, TX 77057
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