The Truth Behind COVID-19 and Contact Lenses
Right now, there is a lot of misinformation being spread surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic, our health, and even our lifestyle choices. With extra anxieties and tensions running high, a lot of us are, unfortunately, quick to believe anything we hear surrounding this virus. On that note, several organizations have tried claiming that, to help prevent the spread of COVID, contact wearers should avoid wearing contacts. This is blatantly untrue, and it seems as though these types of statements are beginning to muddy actual contact and eye care safety procedures concerning COVID-19.
Though there’s a lot we could say about these false claims being made, and how detrimental they can be at a time such as this one, instead, we will just point you to the facts below. There, you can find everything you need to know about the safety of contacts during this epidemic, as well as other tips and tricks to get you feeling even just a bit more secure during all of this uncertainty.
What You Should Know about COVID-19 and Eye Care
Currently, there is absolutely no evidence that indicates an increased risk of infection from COVID-19 for those who wear contacts regularly. This idea was started and spread on the pretense that we should avoid touching our face during these times to help stop the spread of germs and prevent susceptible cells from getting targeted. While this is true, with proper handwashing procedures, putting in or taking out a pair of contacts can be perfectly safe.
Being cognizant about handwashing, in general, is important, but right now, it’s crucial. If you’re a contact-wearer, you have to a bit more conscious about it when you’re handling your contacts directly. But, that doesn’t mean you’re at any higher of a risk than someone with perfect eyesight, or with someone who wears glasses. In fact, wearing glasses with a mask can often be a bit uncomfortable, causing either smearing or fogginess from your trapped breath. With masks being such an essential accessory right now, choosing to wear contacts might actually be easier for accessibility.
During this time especially, make sure to avoid rubbing your eyes in any circumstance possible, but especially when you’re out in public. If you’re prone to dry eyes or itchiness, keep contact solution or moisturizing drops on hand just in case; this way, you won’t even feel inclined to touch your face.
The only time we suggest avoiding wearing your contacts is if you find yourself feeling a bit under the weather, especially if you’re showing flu-like symptoms. If that’s the case, avoid touching your eyes entirely and just wear your glasses until you feel better.
Changes in Appointments and Procedures
Though not much has changed surrounding the actual wearing of contacts and glasses during this time, you should expect to see quite a difference in the way that your eye appointments function from here on out. Likely, you will be required to wear a mask and you probably will not have the chance to sit in a waiting room with others; rather, you may sit in your car until your appointment, or the waiting room may have a capacity of a very low number of patients.
During the exam, there’s a very good chance your eye doctor will ask for you to wait and talk until after the examination has finished and they’re at a proper distance. You will also notice an increased amount of medical safety gear between you and your doctor for added precaution. Even if you have the slightest chance of being sick—any symptom or ailment—and you will be asked to go home and return when you’re 100% well.
In general, the whole process may take a bit longer than you’re used to, but this is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. Essentially, as long as you’re following the proper safety measures for dealing with contacts, as well as dealing with the Coronavirus, and listening to your medical professionals about procedures, you should be perfectly fine using wearing your corrective lenses.
For a bit of a refresher, you can find all of the most important contact safety and cleanliness tips below.
Basic Contact Safety and Cleanliness
Amid this epidemic, staying as safe (and as clean) as possible is crucial. When handling your contacts, always keep in mind the safety and cleanliness procedures you should be following.
Your contact case should be just as clean as your hands. Ensure that your contacts, when left in the case, are sitting in fresh, clean solution. You cannot leave the same contact solution in your case for more than even just a day without risk of bacteria forming, so make sure to replace your solution before you put them back into their case. To make it easiest, after you put in your contacts, dump out the old solution. Then, use your contact solution to rinse out the case briefly, using your clean hands to rub the inside of the case free of any impurities. Once it’s clean, place the case upside-down, empty, on a clean surface to air dry until you’re ready to take out your contacts. It’s as simple as that to stay clean and bacteria-free.
After every few months or so, you should purchase a new contact lens case strictly for safety and cleanliness purposes. Don’t panic! Contact cases aren’t super expensive and you can easily buy them in bulk so you don’t have to go running to the store in the glasses every time you toss out your old case. Plus, they come in a variety of colors to switch up the look every once in a while.
Other basic safety tips for contact-wearers include avoiding wearing them in the pool, as well as wearing them overnight unless your contacts explicitly state that that’s permitted. The longer you wear your contacts, the longer your eyes are being deprived of the oxygen they need to function properly. While this is acceptable for all-day wear, wearing contacts overnight will dry out your eyes significantly, putting them at risk for damage and infection.
All in all, wearing contact lenses is a completely safe bet as long as you’re being smart about the process. With you taking extra steps to ensure your hands are extra clean, your contacts are disinfected, and your solution is brand-new, you have absolutely nothing to worry about—especially in regard to putting yourself at risk for COVID-19.
But, if you’re still unsure, we don’t blame you. There is a lot of uncertainty in this world right now, so getting the facts is always crucial. If you want to read more about contact lens safety and the Coronavirus, you can do so from the CDC, here. You can also find extremely helpful information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, especially in regards to safety procedures and what life at the eye doctor is looking like today.
No matter what you choose—contacts or glasses—continuing to be diligent about hand washing, social distancing, and proper hygiene procedures during a time like this. Continue to listen to sources like the CBD and continue staying healthy.