A Guide to Contact Lens Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Throughout the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were several debates regarding the use of contact lenses in the middle of a worldwide health threat.

Various studies, though, have put this issue to rest and showed that there is no evidence that suggests wearing contact lenses place you at a higher risk for contracting the new coronavirus.

Because of this, if you wear contact lenses, there is no reason for you to switch to eyeglasses if you already find it more comfortable and convenient to use them.

The Connection Between the New Coronavirus and the Eyes

The coronavirus spreads from person to person through close contact. When a person with this disease coughs, sneezes, or talks and the virus-infected droplets land on your eyes, nose, or mouth, and you inhale them, you could become infected.

Another way of acquiring the virus is by touching surfaces covered with virus-infected particles or shaking hands with a person whose hands are contaminated with the virus, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Although most people are more likely to inhale the contaminated particles through the mucous membranes in the mouth or nose, the droplets can also enter through the membranes protecting the eyes.

As such, your risk for getting the coronavirus increases if you touch or rub your eyes. This is something that you may often do if you wear contact lenses.

Keeping Safe and Healthy While Wearing Contacts During the Pandemic

Although there is no need to stop wearing your contact lenses in Dubai during the current health crisis, it is best to follow these additional tips and steps to protect yourself from the new coronavirus:

1.     Focus on proper hand hygiene when handling your contacts and at all times.

One of the easiest, cheapest, yet most effective ways of preventing the spread of the coronavirus and other diseases is proper handwashing.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds often, especially when you are in or have come from a public place or touched frequently handled surfaces.

Make sure you also wash your hands thoroughly before putting on and removing your lenses. Pay extra attention to the tips of your fingers and thumbs, which often touch the lenses.

Additionally, dry your hands completely with a clean, unused towel or paper towel. f you don’t have access to water and soap, disinfect your hands with hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.

However, if you have to remove or put on your contacts, it is best to wash your hands with soap and water since the sanitizer can irritate your eyes.

2.     Wear your eyeglasses when necessary.

If you are feeling under the weather and have a cold or illness, it is best to avoid wearing your contacts temporarily.

Wearing your contact lenses when you are sick can spread the infection to your eyes. If you have a cold or allergy, they can worsen eye-related symptoms.

In such instances, avoid using contact lenses and wear your eyeglasses. You can switch back to contact lenses a day after you get a clean bill of health.

Additionally, wear your glasses if your eyes are tired or dry to give them a break.

If you run out of lens solution and contacts, do not use another product, especially water, for cleaning them nor should you reuse your old pair. Wear your eyeglasses until you can get your fresh supplies.

3.     Continue following the right steps for cleaning your contact lenses.

During a pandemic, there should be no changes in the way you clean your contact lenses.

Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before touching your contacts. Also, handle them over a clean and sanitized surface.

Use only the commercial contact lens solution that comes with your brand or is prescribed by your optometrist for cleaning your contacts. Follow the instructions on the label or provided by your eye specialist.

Never use water to rinse or clean your lenses, since it may contain bacteria that can cause eye infections.

Always clean the contact lens case as well. Get rid of the old solution and rub all the sides with your finger. Once done, rinse the case with fresh solution and air-dry or wipe it dry with a clean tissue.

If you are using daily disposable contacts, throw them away at the end of the day and put on a new pair in the morning.

4.     Store your contact lenses properly.

When storing your contacts, avoid using the old solution or topping it off. Empty the case fully before washing it and add a new solution when putting your lenses in it at night.

Do not put water in the case to soak your contacts if you have run out of your solution. Tap water may contain harmful organisms, which can embed themselves in your lenses and cause eye infections.

To avoid scratching and damaging your contact lenses, always fill the case to the top with the solution.

Again, make sure you wash your hands properly before handling your contact lenses.

5.     Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.

Another important tip for protecting yourself from the new coronavirus and other germs is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, especially if you have not washed or sanitized your hands yet.

Keep in mind that if you touch or rub your eyes, you run the risk of transferring the new coronavirus and other bacteria to the membranes, which can find their way into and wreak havoc on your respiratory system.

If you have an allergic eye or any common symptom, you will have to resist the urge to rub your eyes.

In case of itchy eyes and itchy eyelids or if you are experiencing dry eyes, it is better to contact your eye Doctor to know the cause and find a good treatment.

You should also consider wearing eyeglasses temporarily instead of contacts if your eyes become too itchy and watery because of your allergy.

Again, make sure your hands are thoroughly clean before touching your eyes.

Wearing contact lenses is safe during the coronavirus pandemic. However, make sure you take extra precautions when touching and handling them and keep taking good care of your eyes.