Does COVID-19 affect those who wear contact lenses?
During this unprecedented and worrisome time, there are many issues surrounding the spread and communicability of COVID-19. Besides the obvious of social distancing and avoiding those who are exhibiting symptoms, what else can help us avoid contracting this disease?
A few worried patients have reached out and expressed their concern for contact lens wearers and COVID-19; should they stop wearing contact lenses?
The American Optometric Association has stated that currently, it is safe to wear contact lenses. It is a safe and effective form of vision correction which, as a medical device, does not contribute to the spread of the virus. However! The habits with those who wear contact lenses CAN contribute to the spread if proper hygiene is not followed.
- Make sure you always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses (this is a good practice anyway, but especially important given the virus’s ability to survive on surfaces for a long time.)
- Contact lens wearers who overwear their lenses may start to experience dryness and discomfort, which leads to excessive rubbing and touching of the eye. This can definitely lead to contracting the virus.
While pink eye is not a defining symptom of COVID-19, due to the nature of the virus it can cause it. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, can be caused by any number of issues, including improper hygiene or physical irritation such as shampoo or dust. In this case, viruses tend to thrive in moist environments, and COVID-19 in particular seeks mucus membranes to latch onto, such as the one on the surface of your eye.