MONROE, LA (4/8/20)– Contact wearers might want to think twice before putting in their lenses.
Eye health officials say wearing them increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. Officials have said not to touch your nose and mouth, but the COVID-19 virus can actually enter through your eyes as well. This causing a problem for those who wear contacts on a daily basis.
“Wearing a contact lens increases the risk of you touching around your face and you definitely have to touch your eye to get the contact lens out,” said Patrick Redmond, MD; Louisiana Eye and Laser.
With the eyes being a portal of entry for the virus, eye officials say it’s important to protect the eye and understand how the virus is contracted.
“Your eye has a lot of mucus membrane and that’s really the portal that the virus gets into your body,” said Redmond.
Eye officials say contact users touch their eyes more than the average person as they put them in, take them out, and readjust them through out the day. However, those contact users can actually help flatten the curve in their city by switching from their contact lenses to glasses.
“General it’s probably a good idea if you are going to be going out and about and where you are going to put yourself at risk, you should mitigate that risk by probably wearing your glasses and being a four eyes that day,” said Redmond.
Glasses can protect the eyes from COVID-19 in many different ways.
“You’re in the grocery store, even if you’re six feet away, and someone sneezes. If you’re having something covering your eyes like a pair of glasses, that could actually decrease the risk of you coming in contact with the virus,” said Redmond.
In addition, officials have discovered that conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a symptom of COVID-19 and 1 to 30 percent of those infected get this symptom. However, pink eye is common for those who wear contacts so can be hard to tell the difference.
“Is your pink and irritated eye a symptom of a normal routine problem that we can fix with medication or could it be an early symptom of the coronavirus infection,” said Redmond.
Officials say that if you plan to wear contacts, you should wash your hands for longer and more often that you normally would. In addition, try to touch your face and eyes as little as possible.