As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread throughout the United States and the world, Drs. Dave and Cheryl Roell remind their patients to be extra vigilant in washing their hands before touching contact lenses to avoid contaminating the lenses.
What is COVID-19
COVID-19 is a new and deadly virus. As of now (this may change as more is learned about how the virus operates), experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe COVID-19 spreads primarily by person-to-person contact (when an infected person within 6 feet of you coughs, sneezes, or speaks, sending infected microscopic droplets your way) and from contaminated surfaces or objects (when you touch something that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, thus infecting yourself). There is no cure or vaccine for this virus yet, so prevention is the only option available to avoid contracting COVID-19.
The CDC says maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet or more from other people, frequent hand washing, and cleaning of oft-touched surfaces (phones, light switches, door handles, etc.) with a disinfectant are the most effective measures we have against catching the virus.
COVID-19 and Contact Lenses
While wearers of contact lenses already know that good hygiene is important when inserting or removing their lenses, it is especially so during this COVID-19 outbreak. The American Optometry Association recommends the following guidelines for contact lens wearers:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Dry them with an unused paper towel prior to inserting or removing the contact lens.
- If no soap and water are available, thoroughly rub hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol on your hands.
- Disinfect contact lenses regularly (or throw them away if disposable).
- If you feel ill, do not wear your lenses.
The All About Eyes office will remain closed per the governor’s orders through to Thursday, April 30. We are hoping to reopen on Friday, May 1, if the local quarantine has been lifted at that time (this may change). If you have an ocular emergency, please call our office at 609-653-9933.
Until then, stay safe, stay home, and wash your hands!