Approximately three out of four U.S. adults wear glasses or use some form of vision correction, according to The Vision Council.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, should one wear contact lenses or eye glasses?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recognizes that those who wear contacts touch their face and eyes more than those who wear glasses.
"It’s important to remember that although there is a lot of concern about coronavirus, common sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected. So wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes," said Dr. Sonal Tuli, an ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the AAO.
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Dr. Tuli suggests if you are a person who is prone to touching your eyes a lot, that wearing glasses more often is a wise choice.
"Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye," she said.
COVID-19 has stretched medical resources and the health care system nationwide, and it is also impacting how eye doctors are administering care.
Dr. Raj Maturi of the Midwest Eye Institute in Indianapolis echoed that contact lenses are okay to wear as long as the individual washes their face and hands with soap.
"Single use contacts are preferred," he suggested.
He also recommends that if a person elects to wear glasses that they should wash their glasses with soap too to prevent the spread of the virus.
The coronavirus has caused Dr. Maturi to adjust his care practices with even more personal doctoring than before.
While his staff has postponed most appointments during COVID-19, some of his patients are in need of regular eye care, including shots to prevent blindness. His staff works to prioritize patients who cannot postpone care.
Dr. Maturi, also a clinical spokesperson for the AAO, made a recent personal visit to a nursing home to administer an eye shot to a patient whose vision might deteriorate if not treated, after the nursing home's visitor rules were updated to permit visitors.
During these uncertain times, and with more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. alone, the medical community emphasizes that hand and face washing is paramount for preventing the spread of viruses.
Experts say it is okay to wear glasses and contact lenses during the coronavirus pandemic, but regardless of personal choice, basic hygiene practices are particularly important for those with corrective vision needs.
The AAO has shared these tips for those who wear contact lenses:
- Do not put your lenses in your mouth to wet them.
- Do not use saline solution and rewetting drops to disinfect lenses.
- Do not re-use old solution or "top off" the solution in your lens case.
- Do not transfer contact lens solution into smaller travel-size containers.
More tips to prevent infection with proper contact lens care can be found here.