Contact lenses and COVID-19?: can I or can’t I?

As you probably have experienced over the past few weeks, there has been an explosion of information regarding this current pandemic in the news and different social media platforms.  Your co-workers, friends, and family are sharing articles of what they believe to be valid safety precautions.  You read them and start to realize, “Hey wait a minute. This article says I should do XYZ, and this article says I shouldn’t. Now what?” Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not easy to identify what are myths and what are facts. 

There have been articles circulating the internet in regards to contact lens wear and questioning its safety during this pandemic.  These articles have highlighted concerns that transmission of the virus is higher in those who wear contacts, versus those who wear glasses, concluding that contact lens wear is not recommended.  Well, we are here to set the facts straight for you. This is a MYTH! Our esteemed colleagues from the Centre of Ocular Research and Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo have released a peer reviewed paper confirming that contact lenses are an acceptable form of vision correction during the COVID-19 pandemic.  That being said, good hand-washing and proper use of contact lenses are crucial.
  
Here are the key take away points:  

  • Yes, you can wear your contacts! There is no scientific proof indicating that contact lens wearers are more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to those with glasses.
  • Please, please, please make sure you wash your hands properly! We recommend washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds and drying with a lint-free paper towel before touching your face or your lenses. Is 20 seconds necessary? Yes! Wash your hands like you’ve been eating spicy habanero wings and now you need to put your contacts in.
  • Follow proper wear and care instructions for your contacts. That includes proper disinfection (clean your lenses and store in fresh solution every time) and proper disposal (changing your lenses when you’re supposed to. Don’t stretch out your wear time).
  • Avoid wearing your contacts if you are sick. Don’t worry it’s not forever. Once you are healthy again, you can resume wear with fresh lenses. If you aren’t sure if you’re in the clear, feel free to call our office.
  • Be aware that regular spectacles are not proven to offer protection against COVID-19.  In fact, some viruses can remain on hard surfaces from hours to days! They then can be transferred from your glasses, to your hands, to your face. This is especially true for those who are constantly taking off/putting on glasses throughout the day. Make sure you disinfect your spectacles daily. We recommend using soap and warm water (not hot or it will ruin your lens coatings) to wash them and then a lint-free paper towel to dry them.
  • Gently dab the lens vs wiping them to ensure you don’t scratch them.
  • You’re probably sick of hearing this one but we thought we would repeat it again for reinforcement. Wash your hands before you touch your face! 

Now that we have busted this myth, don’t be afraid to wear your contacts! If you have run out of your lenses and need to re-order, please call us at 403.974.3937 (EYES) or visit store.drbishop.com
 
We want you to know that at Dr. Bishop and Associates, we are here for you during these uncertain times. Any questions/concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stay healthy and stay safe everyone! Please feel free to visit and share: COVIDeyefacts.org which goes into detail the information discussed above.  

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