Wearing contact lenses? Doctors say you may want to switch to glasses, for now

Photo: n4i / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Photo: n4i / Flickr / CC BY 2.0(WCTV)
Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 4:23 PM EDT
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If you're a contact lens wearer, doctors say you may want to put those away and put on your glasses.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing glasses may help you stop touching your face.

Experts say that is one way coronavirus is spreading around the world.

While it is safe to wear contacts at this time, Dr. Alyssa Verrill of Penobscot Eye Care in Brewer recommends folks practice good hygiene and hand washing.

It's also extremely important to disinfect the lenses.

"If they are not a daily lens, they're a two or four week replacement, then you should be putting them in a clean case with a proper disinfectant solution. Don't top off your case with solution. Always start with fresh solution every day."

Doctors say glasses may provide a little bit more protection from any virus particles that may be in the air. Although you're more likely to get the virus through the nose or the mouth.

"You have more surface area in your mouth than you do with your eyes so, I feel like it would be less likely to contact through the eyes."

But, if you do decide to ditch the contact lens, and dig out those frames. Dr. Verrilll says there's something to think about there, too.

"Even though you have glasses on, you may not even be thinking about it but you're still running your eyes or scratching your face, or adjusting your frames and that sort of thing. So, just reducing as much touching of your face as you can is good,” said Verril.

Recent studies show that this new coronavirus could also cause conjunctivitis, most commonly known, "pink eye."

However, doctors says it seems to be a pretty low percentage of people with COVID-19, also have conjunctivitis.

"Like 1 to 3% percent of patients are presenting with those symptoms. So, if you see someone with a pink eye, don't panic that they have it. But, if you are experiencing symptoms of conjunctivitis, to seek care and call your eye care provider,” said Verrill.

Verrill adds that eye doctors around the world are learning new things about the coronavirus every day.

For example, a newly released study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that there has been no evidence that those with COVID-19 were shedding the virus from their tears.

Although, no one in that study had conjunctivitis.

Doctors say at this point, it’s still unknown if the coronavirus can be spread by tears.