Contact Lens Wear and COVID 19
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, patients continue top ask about aspects of their health pertaining to their every day life, including contact lens wear. When it comes to contact lens wear, the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Center For Disease Control (CDC) both state that contact lenses are still a safe and contact lens wearers shows no greater risk from COVID-19 than those wearing glasses. Here are some pointers and myth-busters to guide you through the outbreak.
Contact lenses themselves will not give you COVID 19. Proper hygiene is always important when handling contact lenses, and this is even more important than ever because of the need to touch your face and eyes. Be sure to wash your hand thoroughly!
Exercise proper hand washing technique. The CDC recommends at least 20 seconds of hand washing, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. This should occur before every contact lens insertion and removal. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. This is less ideal because residual alcohol can cause mild sting and temporary irritation, but it's still better than not sanitizing hands at all.
Routinely disinfect contact lenses. If you are in a single use (daily disposable) contact, be sure to discard at the end of each wear. If you are in a reusable contact lens make sure to follow the manufacturer recommended care regimen.
If you do get sick, discontinue lens wear. Contact lenses should never be worn if your have an acute illness like a cold or the flu. If you experience flu-like symptoms, discontinue contact lens wear and stick to glasses.
Glasses are not proven to offer protection. Glasses and contacts carry the same risk because they both require face touching. Proper hygiene will allow either modality to be utilized safely.
If you have a contact lens prescription that is nearing expiration or has expired, call our office at 314.394.3045. We are working with our patients to ensure you have access to lenses as needed. We are also accepting appointments, but no walk - ins at this time. No federal laws related to the Contact Lens Rule prescription verification process have been suspended or waived.
We continue to be here for you and your eye care needs throughout the "Stay at Home Order" in Saint Louis city and county. To learn more about the extra precautions we are taking, click below.
Individuals should continue to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.
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Andrew Biondo, OD, FSLS is the Primary Medical Director at Kirkwood Eye Associates in Kirkwood, MO. Serving the greater St. Louis area, Dr. Biondo has 12 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator & consultant to the specialty contact lens industry. His special interests include contact lenses, dry eye disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, laser eye surgery & preventive vision care.