Do You Wear Contacts or Glasses? Here’s What Ocular Scientists Advise During COVID-19 Pandemic

New findings published in touch Lens & Anterior Eye provide evidence-based guidance for practitioners and patients, including 5 important facts for each contact wearer

A new peer-reviewed paper from five prominent ocular scientists will help eye care practitioners (ECPs) instruct and reassure contact wearers during the worldwide COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic. Published in touch Lens & Anterior Eye, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for contact Practitioners” delves into multiple aspects of eye health amidst the worldwide health crisis, with a selected emphasis on the safe use of contact lenses.

“Our findings indicate that contact lenses remain a wonderfully acceptable sort of vision correction during the coronavirus pandemic, as long as people observe good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions,” said Dr. Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo and therefore the paper’s lead author. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen variety of erroneous reports regarding contact lenses and spectacles in recent days. Our goal is to form sure that science-backed truths are understood and shared, helping eye care practitioners provide accurate, timely counsel to patients.”

Based on the paper, CORE has developed five facts (also available as a downloadable infographic) for ECPs to share with anyone who relies on contact lenses or glasses / spectacles:

1. People Can Keep Wearing Contact Lenses. there’s currently no scientific evidence that contact wearers have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 compared with glasses / spectacles wearers. Patients should consult their eye care practitioners with questions.

2. Good Hygiene Habits are Critical. Thorough handwashing and drying are essential, also as properly wearing and caring for contact lenses, ensuring good contact case hygiene, and frequently cleaning glasses / spectacles with soap and water. These habits will help wearers stay healthy and out of their doctor’s office or hospital, thereby minimizing impacts on the broader healthcare system.

3. Regular Eyeglasses / Spectacles don’t Provide Protection. No scientific evidence supports rumors that everyday eyeglasses / spectacles offer protection against COVID-19.
Keep Unwashed Hands faraway from the Face. Whether people wear contact lenses, glasses / spectacles or require no vision correction in the least , individuals should avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands, according to World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

4. If you’re Sick, Temporarily Stop Wearing Contact Lenses. contact wearers who are ill should temporarily revert to wearing eyeglasses / spectacles. they will resume use with fresh, new contact lenses and lens cases once they return to full health and have spoken with their eye care practitioner.

On April 8, the CDC issued updated guidance on contact wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, further supporting key findings from the contact & Anterior Eye paper. The CDC additionally points out that private eyeglasses and get in touch with lenses don’t qualify as personal protective equipment (PPE).

The contact & Anterior Eye paper also reviews why management of adverse events should be retained within optometric systems, offers guidance on sleeping in touch lenses, considers wearing modalities and lens materials, and offers areas for further study.

Reference: “The COVID-19 pandemic: Important considerations for contact practitioners” by Lyndon Jones, Karen Walsh, Mark Willcox, Philip Morgan and Jason Nichols, Pre-Proof, contact and Anterior Eye.
DOI: 10.1016/j.clae.2020.03.012

Joining Dr. Jones as paper authors were four globally respected researchers, educators and clinicians: Dr. Karen Walsh, professional education team leader and clinical scientist at CORE, Dr. Mark Willcox, director of research at the varsity of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW (Sydney), Dr. Philip Morgan, director of Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester (United Kingdom), and Dr. Jason Nichols, associate vice chairman for research and professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (United States) and editor-in-chief of contact Spectrum.
The latest findings complement and significantly expand on CORE advisories regarding handwashing and safe contact wear issued in mid-March 2020.4.

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