Love (Your Eyes) in the Time of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus and its associated symptoms, known as Covid-19, is making international headlines! Nearly every continent has been affected with one of the hardest-hit being the United States. With an increasing number of infected persons and deaths, Americans are well-advised to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from being infected.  

For people who wear contact lenses and eyeglasses, the risks may be higher and stricter observance of safety precautions are strongly recommended. Initial studies have pointed out that the coronavirus can be transmitted through the eyes as well as the nose and mouth, usually through touching infected surfaces and inhaling droplets. Indeed, loving your eyes and protecting them are a must in the time of Covid-19! 

Here are the most important precautionary measures to remember.  

Step Up Your Hand Hygiene 

Of course, proper hand hygiene is a must when handling contact lenses and eyeglasses, as well as in touching your eyes for any reason.  You should thoroughly wash, rinse and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses since pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, can be easily transmitted from your hands to your eyes.  This is a piece of advice that your Costco cannot overemphasize!  

But due to the risks of Covid-19, you have to step up your game, so to speak. You should wash your hands more often than in previous times, particularly in these instances: 

  • Before entering your home after being out for errands, work and other purposes. 
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after handling food 
  • After using the toilet 
  • After sneezing, coughing and blowing your nose
  • Before and after handling contact lenses 

You may be unable to wash your hands with soap and water at all times. You can use alcohol or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You must pour a generous amount into the palm of your hand and vigorously rub all areas of your hand for at least 20 seconds, as is the case when using soap and water.  

Mind Your Contact Lenses 

You may think of it as an unnecessary expense to replace your old contact lenses. But if you want your eyes to be safe and healthy, you should change them according to your optometrist’s advice. You should have a spare pair of contact lenses, especially as the optometrist’s clinic may have limited hours nowadays.  

Other dos and don’ts that you should remember to reduce your risks of contracting the coronavirus through your eyes as well as your nose and mouth. 

  • Do use fresh solution in cleansing your contact lenses. 
  • Do tell your optometrist in case you have issues with your contact lenses and eyesight. 
  • Don’t insert, touch and handle your lenses with unclean hands and/or fingers. 
  • Don’t put tap water, saliva and other fluids on your lenses and eyeglasses since these can carry the virus. For eyeglasses, disinfecting with tissue paper soaked in alcohol is a good idea.  

Most important, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. Your hands can pick up the virus on contaminated surfaces and, thus, transfer to your body via these orifices. 

If possible, you may want to wear protective eyewear even when you’re already wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, along with a face mask. The more protection you have and the more care you adopt, the better your chances of not contracting the coronavirus.  

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