Experts say that practicing good hygiene is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus.

By Kelly Vaughan
April 14, 2020
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From how we interact with family and friends to how often we go to the grocery store, the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. Now experts are issuing another warning related to the outbreak, and this one is specifically for contact lens wearers. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding those who wear contact lenses to practice good hygiene, such as washing their hands with soap and water before and after handling lenses, and avoid excessively touching their faces to prevent the spread of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), "people who are healthy can continue to wear and care for their contact lenses as prescribed by their eye care professional."

Woman putting in a contact lens
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

The CDC is also reminding those who wear contact lenses to always use contact solution to disinfect the contact lenses and case to kill germs that may be present. However, some doctors recommend that contact lens wearers switch to regular glasses altogether. "Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye," said Dr. Sonal S. Tuli, professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Florida.

In addition to the hygiene benefits associated with wearing glasses, experts also say that they can act as a protective barrier to airborne droplets of the respiratory virus—say, if you're standing next to a carrier who sneezes. "Corrective lenses or sunglasses can shield your eyes from infected respiratory droplets," said the AAO. "But they don't provide 100% security. The virus can still reach your eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms of your glasses."

However, the CDC says that there is no evidence at this time that suggests contact lens wearers are more at risk for getting COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers. If you think you have pink eye, which may be a symptom of coronavirus, or experience a sudden loss of vision, notice changes in your vision, or experience eye pain or headaches, call your doctor for further guidance.

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