Do Contact Lenses Increase Your Risk for Coronavirus?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that contact lens wearers switch to wearing glasses for a while. It’s important to understand why.
Contact lenses can cause irritation and itching. Or, if something gets in your eye, it can cause extra discomfort when you wear contacts. What’s the first thing we do? Rub our eyes!
I certainly hope at this point that you’ve heard how critical it is that you not touch your face, including your mouth, nose, and eyes. If your hands are contaminated with virus and your rub your eye, you could potentially infect yourself. Your eyes are connected to your nose, so the virus can make its way into our respiratory tract where it can flourish. So, if you feel the urge to rub your eye, use a tissue instead of your finger.
Dry eyes can also trigger the urge to rub our eyes. Stock up on some moisturizing drops to keep them moist. Make sure to wash your hands before putting drops in your eyes.
Glasses also offer another layer of protection. They can help shield your eyes from respiratory droplets that may be sneezed or coughed from someone infected with COVID-19. It’s not foolproof because those droplets could enter through the side, but it’s something. Having glasses on also makes us more aware when we’re tempted to touch our eyes (the glasses tend to get in the way).
It’s not common, but COVID-19 can cause an eye infection called conjunctivitis, known more commonly as pink eye. The symptoms are similar to other viral causes of pink eye – red, itchy eyes and possibly drainage. If you have pink eye along with fever and cough, isolate yourself to make sure you don’t spread it and call your doctor to see if you should have a coronavirus test.
If your contacts cause your eyes to be itchy or irritated, you should consider wearing glasses instead of contacts over the next few weeks. Reaching for your eyes may be more temptation than you can stand. Use your judgement and do what’s best for you to stay healthy.
If you decide to stick with your contacts, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before putting them in or taking them out. That’s more important now than ever.