What you need to know about COVID-19 and contact lenses

There has been a lot of news lately about how to protect everyone from catching the Coronavirus.

One of the seemingly common-sense suggestions that have been promoted in the news in the last few weeks is the idea that you need to stop wearing contact lenses completely to avoid getting infected with COVID-19.

At Iris Bright Optometry, Dr. Clara Kuei-Yu Chang and Dr. Stephanie Cheung see a lot of contact lens patients.  Many of our patients love the freedom of wearing contact lenses.  Without contact lenses, they wouldn’t be able to see and go about their lives the way they love most.

Well, regardless of the cute sound bites you hear on TV, it’s OK for you to keep wearing contact lenses during the pandemic!

Along with the American Optometric Association (AOA), American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and the Contact Lens Institute (CLI), Dr. Chang and her team agrees with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that states:

  • There is currently no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers.
  • Contact lens wearers should continue to practice safe contact lens wear and care hygiene habits to help prevent against transmission of any contact lens-related infections, such as always washing hands with soap and water before handling lenses.
  • People who are healthy can continue to wear and care for their contact lenses as prescribed by their eye care professional

Most importantly (whether you wear contact lenses, glasses, need no vision correction at all, have dry eye or suffer from ocular allergies), EVERYONE should wear a mask, clean their hands often and avoid touching their mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.

If you are about to run out of contact lenses and need to re-order some, book your eye exam with us so we can get you a renewed prescription.

And to help you remember what you need to know about contact lenses before you get stuck with a stay-at-home order, download the simple graphic in the sidebar for your reference or watch the video below, courtesy of CORE (Center of Ocular Research & Education):

  1. 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. The lack of evidence from previous outbreaks of coronavirus disease, including SARS, suggests that the risk of developing COVID-19 from contact lens wear is low.
  2. Good Hygiene Habits are Critical
    Thorough hand washing 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. These habits can help you stay healthy and out of your doctor’s office or hospital.
  3. Regular Eyeglasses / Spectacles Do Not Provide Protection
    No scientific evidence supports rumors that everyday glasses offer protection against COVID-19. Social distancing and wearing face coverings is the best precaution.
  4. 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.
  5. If you are ill, temporarily stop wearing your contacts and use your glasses instead
    If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, it’s a good idea to dispose of any contact lenses you were wearing, along with the remaining disinfecting solution and contact lens case.  Once you return to full health, you can wear them again, using a new pair of contact lenses and a new lens case.

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Infographic guidelines on how and when to wear contact lenses during COVID-19

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