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How to Keep Your Contact Lenses Safe During COVID-19

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Woman inserting contact lenses after washing her hands to protect herself from COVID-19

With the entire world creating new health and safety restrictions to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may be wondering what this may mean for contact lens wearers.

Hand hygiene has become an important topic of discussion in the last few weeks, with many health officials advising to wash your hands as often as you can or to wear disinfected gloves whenever you can. However, one of the most important aspects of hand hygiene is to refrain from touching your face as much as possible, and this is a necessary practice for all contact lens wearers.

So, what should you do to stay safe while wearing contacts? Our team is here to help you answer this question.

Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene

If there is one thing to take away from everything you’re hearing, be it the news or even this blog post, it’s to practice proper hygiene. Whether you’re handling your contact lenses or not, you should always be making sure that you’re washing your hands and using hand sanitizer regularly.

However, if you do use contact lenses, you may be wondering if wearing contact lenses may increase your chances of contracting COVID-19. In all fairness, it’s still relatively early to make claims that it can or can’t, but if we look at information taken during previous outbreaks, it’s safe to assume the chances of contracting COVID-19 is pretty low.

Another great practice is to make sure you disinfect your contact lenses before and after each use. When you first get contact lenses, you’re provided with a disinfectant solution they can soak in between uses. Please make sure you’re using this solution as much as possible.

Daily Contact Lenses

Another solution is daily contact lenses. Unlike bi-weekly or monthly contact lenses, daily contact lenses are only worn once. Because daily contact lenses are switched every day, you don’t have to worry about disinfecting. Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before inserting and removing the contact lenses.

A collection of materials to help protect patients from contracting COVID-19, including hand disinfectant and masks.

Do What Makes You Comfortable

Some people enjoy how they look while wearing contact lenses, even if it does cause some irritation. If you feel like your contact lenses are making your eyes feel itchy or uncomfortable, remove them to protect yourself from touching your face too often.

Whenever you start wearing your contact lenses, you should check the following things:

  • Do your eyes feel comfortable?
  • Do your eyes look red or irritated?
  • Can you see well wearing your contact lenses?

If you’ve answered “yes,” to any of these questions, then it might be a good idea to remove them and contact your optometrist for more information.

Are You Sick? Stop Wearing Contact Lenses

If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, related to COVID-19 or not, you should cease wearing your contact lenses immediately. Some bacteria and viruses can spread to the eye, and if you’re using contact lenses, the risk is much higher. 

Do your eyes a favour and don’t wear contact lenses until your symptoms go away. An no matter what, always wash your hands thoroughly before removing or inserting your contact lenses.

Written by Dr. Mark Pitcher

Dr. Mark Pitcher earned his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah before he graduated with honours from the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo in 1992. He is a member of the National Optometric Honours Society and Beta Sigma Kappa (1989 to 1992). Following his optometric training, Dr. Pitcher earned his Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agent Certification from the North Eastern State School of Optometry in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 1993.
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