What Does 'Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose and Mouth' Mean for Contact Lens Wearers?
Contact Lenses and COVID-19
Right now, patients are asking, “Is it safe to wear my contacts during the COVID-19 pandemic?” Good news - contact lenses are safe to wear as long as certain procedures are followed:
1. Wash your hands before inserting or removing contacts
It is critical to wash your hands before touching your lenses. The tiny blood vessels in the front part of your eye are one of the places where COVID-19 can enter your body. Even one of the first doctors to become infected is thought to have contracted it via his eyes. Soap your hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse thoroughly before touching your contacts or eyes.
2. Follow proper contact lens care
If you are in a monthly lens, don’t wear them more than 30 days. A two week lens? You guessed it, no more than 14 days of wear. What about dailies? Yes, just 1 day. Your lenses may still be comfortable past these limits. However, the health risks increase dramatically when you overwear your contacts.
Only some lenses are approved for overnight wear. Even if your lenses fall into that category, you will significantly lower your risks of developing an eye problem if you remove them before bed.
After putting on your lenses, dump the old solution from the case, rinse with a splash of new solution, and let the case air dry. It’s quite risky to use water on your case! Remember to close the cap when you are done to keep particles out. During this time, it’s also a good idea to get a new case each month.
3. Have a backup pair of glasses
It’s wise for contact lens wearers to have a backup set of glasses. If you develop an infection, run out of contacts, or have an expired prescription you may be out of luck. If you don’t have glasses, call your store to discuss your options. Glasses are also a great way to avoid touching your eyes.
Spencer Ritenour, OD
Doctor’s Exchange of Oregon practicing inside Portland, Oregon America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses location