One thing is certain – We don’t know much about COVID-19
It is unfortunate that nearly every headline I read in the news revolves around the novel COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world. It is on everyone’s mind and people are looking for answers. Whether right or wrong you’ll find answers to questions like: how the virus started; how much fluids one should drink to prevent infection; whether to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen; and what treatments are effective. In just a short matter of time, some of these answers have already been proven wrong. Now I’ll admit that for the longest time, while news reported the COVID-19 virus spreading thru china and into Italy, the only thing I was following closely was the stock market. It wasn’t until at a staff meeting that a co-worker cited news that wearing contact lenses could increase a person’s risk for COVID-19. I didn’t believe that to be true, nor did I want to, but I didn’t have any evidence to support my belief either. Can I claim to have a professional opinion – writing 3 blog posts has to count for something, eh?
Contact lens wear is safe
Then it came, like an answer to my prayers. I received a newsletter from the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the countries largest membership of optometrists. In the newsletter was an article titled COVID-19 and contact lens wear: what do eye care practitioners and patients need to know?, published by a Karen Walsh, a clinical scientist at the University of Waterloo (Canada). In the article were statements from the world’s leading contact lens experts. One of the experts was Dr. Lyndon Jones, a clinic professor and director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education at the University of Waterloo. So what did the world’s best contact lens researchers conclude:
- Contact lens wear is safe.
- Washing your hands is essential whether wearing contact lenses or spectacles. Contact lens wearers should wash and dry their hands before insertion or removal of their lenses.
- Disinfect contact lenses. Contact lenses should either be disposed of at the end of the day (absolute best option), or regularly disinfected.
- Disinfect your spectacles. The virus can live on certain materials for days, so keep your glasses clean too. Rember that you are often touching them with grimy hands.
- Discontinue contact lens wear if you are sick.
- Spectacles are not proven safer.
What Has Past Research Taught Us?
Interestingly, and older study published also found that individuals who purchased contact lenses from the internet were at a greater risk to develop serious infection.
I feel a lot of uncertainty in this difficult time, but I’m thankful that Canada has incredible forward-thinking scientists that are fast to dispel myths about eyecare. If my blog has taught you anything, I hope that it was to wash your hands regularly and purchase your contact lenses from your eye doctor 🙂