Infectious disease experts are suggesting that people who usually wear contact lenses should consider making a temporary switch to wearing glasses during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the fundamental guidelines for avoiding COVID-19 infection is to avoid touching your face, but if you wear contact lenses, you must touch your eyes every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to insert, adjust, and remove lenses.
The Benefits of Wearing Glasses During COVID-19
While you may normally prefer to wear contact lenses, there are several reasons why you may want to make a temporary switch to wearing glasses during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Your glasses can provide an extra protective barrier for your eyes. There is no evidence that suggests that wearing glasses protects against contracting COVID-19 or other viruses, but they can shield debris.
- Wearing glasses may help you to avoid touching your eyes. It is risky to wear contact lenses because if/when you must adjust them throughout the day, you may not always be around soap and water to clean your hands beforehand.
- You should switch to glasses if you’re sick or in contact with others who have symptoms.
- You should stop wearing contact lenses when you notice eye pain, eye redness, or irritation with use.
What to Do if You Still Wear Contact Lenses During COVID-19
If you don’t want to make the switch to glasses, or if its medically necessary for you to wear contact lenses, you must remain diligent about following these recommendations to stay safe:
- Whether using contact lenses or glasses, you should wash their hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with a clean towel or paper towel. This should occur before inserting, adjusting, and removing contact lenses.
- Follow the contact lens’ replacement schedule. Each contact lens has an FDA-approved time-frame to use the lens, whether daily, bi-weekly, or monthly. If you’re running low on lenses, be sure to have your contact lenses shipped directly to your home.
- Do not sleep in contact lenses. Sleeping in contact lenses increases the risk of developing an eye infection.
- Disinfect contact lenses nightly with a disinfectant. Saline isn’t a disinfectant and isn’t approved to clean contact lenses. Discard solution after applying your lenses in the morning, and use new contact lens solution each night. Rub lenses with contact lens solution prior to placing them in disinfectant overnight, even if the solution says “no rub.”
- Replace the contact lens storage case every month. Cases over one month old show significant bacteria and can’t be properly cleaned. Cleaning cases with water or a dishwasher isn’t recommended, as it isn’t effective.
- Don’t use water. Water should never come in contact with the contact lens or the contact lens case. Water carries a variety of germs that can cause eye infections associated with contact lens use.
Be sure to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. Stay informed on our policies regarding COVID-19, and make sure to contact us with any questions or if you’d like to schedule an appointment.