Did you know wearing a face mask N95 is not an iron-clad guarantee to stay protected from novel COVID-19? Horrendously, it is not only your mouth & nose to let the virus in your body but your eyes too. Do you wear contact lenses for vision correction? Should you worry about your approaching annual eye exam? Find out the strong ties between coronavirus and your eyes. Safety measures taken right on time help prevent the spread of this incredibly contagious virus significantly.
As per AOA, human face has multiple entries which may act as open channel to allow the virus enter into the body. It spreads with aerosol contact but is luckily not air-borne. It travels in the droplets (from infected person’s cough, sneeze, tears and or mucus). Upon contact, eyes may begin to show symptoms of conjunctivitis or pink eye along with other flu-like symptoms (inflammation of white clear membrane). No wonder, medical professionals are often seen wearing a face shield that covers their eyes, nose and mouth.
Should I Cancel my Eye Exam?
A comprehensive eye exam once a year is crucial to keeping your eyes healthy as it rules out the possible chances of high blood pressure, cataracts, and diabetes retinopathy along with other progressive ocular infections. Despite the fact that optometrists come in contact with hundreds of patients every day who might even carry the novel virus, you don’t need to cancel your appointment.
- Doctors follow strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines.
- During a slit-lamp examination, you as a patient sit face to face with your ophthalmologist and may share breath. Hence is why, eye doctors now use a barrier called “slit-lamp” breath shield to help prevent the exchange of breath between patient and doctor.
- If you urge to cough or sneeze during your eye exam, move your face away and cough in a tissue. Toss of the tissue in the bin and sanitize your hands immediately the right way.
Can I still wear my Colored Contacts?
An estimated 45 million people use contact lenses alone in US. Colored lenses are reliable & preferable source of vision correction. You can safely continue to wear colored contacts amid outbreak of novel COVID-19 provided, you disinfect contact lenses after each wear.
- Self-Quarantine: Chances of contracting virus through eyes are as high as with your mouth. Comforting and consoling an ill-person (suspected case) or touching the objects where his tears have landed might infect you. It is important to avoid being in public hence governments are advising self-isolation.
- Avoid rubbing eyes: Do not touch your eyes and contact lenses with impure hands no matter how strong the temptation is.
- Wear protective eye-wear: It is no more than a myth that glasses add a protective shield since virus can still find its way into the eyes from top, bottom and sides of the glasses. Caring for a sick person? Wear protective goggles.
Last but not the least, WHO has advised to stay home in an effort to prevent spreading the virus. It is suggested to work-from-home whose job roles allow it. Instead of buying your colored contacts at the optometrist, buy your supply online. Wear daily disposable contact lenses as it is safer than annual replacement. Use 3N contact lens cleaner to thoroughly get rid of bacterial accumulation and debris off your lenses if you must wear reusable contact lenses for vision correction.