The World Health Organisation is recommending people to refrain from touching their eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid getting a COVID-19 infection. This is because Coronavirus can get inside your body via eyes, nose, or mouth. Your eyes help you see the world and their safety cannot be compromised during this pandemic. You should take additional measures to protect your eyes from the Coronavirus. Here are a few tips to do so:

8 Eye Safety Tips For Avoiding Coronavirus - Acko

Eye Care Tips to Protect Yourself From COVID-19:

Take a look at the following eye care tips that will help you during COVID-19:

1) Avoid Wearing Contact Lenses:

Wearing contact lenses is a high maintenance task. You need to take additional measures to keep your contact lenses safe from contamination at all times. Using contacts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a bad idea as some people tend to touch their eyes more often as compared to others. Since one could get infected with COVID-19 by touching their face with contaminated hands, it is advised to discontinue the use of contact lenses.

2) Use Spectacles:

Spectacles are much easier to maintain as compared to contact lenses. In fact, spectacles can provide a certain amount of protection against Coronavirus. If you step out wearing glasses and get exposed to droplets from an infected person sneezing or coughing, these droplets may land on the spectacles instead of your face. Thus, keeping you virtually safe from COVID-19.

3) Create a Backup of Medicines:

Always keep a backup of eye medicines as these may be unavailable for immediate use. This goes for all types of medicines that you need. In current times, people are required to practice social distancing and it is affecting the production and distribution of goods as well. Some companies are required to work on reduced capacity. Thus, it is important that you create at least one backup of the things that are of utmost importance.

4) Keep Your Nails Short:

It is not hygienic to have long nails, especially during a pandemic. A lot of dirt can accumulate under the nails. That can act as an excellent storage space for the Coronavirus. Especially if you forget to clean this area with soap and water while washing your hands. If you rub your eyes, two things could happen 1) nails could cause an injury to the eye. 2) Coronavirus can get transferred from the dirt under your nail to the eyes and cause COVID-19.

Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline Number, India

5) Frequently Disinfect All Sets of Spectacles:

You need to disinfect your spectacles at least once a day or each time if you step out of the house, as there could be contaminated droplets present on the spectacles. Depending on the material of the spectacles, use soap and water or an alcohol-based wipe to disinfect them. If you have separate sets of glasses, you should disinfect them before putting on.

6) Avoid Sharing Cosmetic Products:

One should never share cosmetic products like kohl, mascara, eyelash curler, eye makeup- brushes, etc. with other people. Apart from Coronavirus, one could get other infections by frequently sharing cosmetics.

7) Rinse Your Eyes Regularly:

It is important to wash your hands regularly, however rinsing the eyes with plain or saline solution is also helpful in keeping them clean and free of harmful particles. Keep your eyes clean especially if you wear contacts or have an eye infection.

8) Learn to Differentiate Between COVID-19 and Seasonal Allergies:

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic can make you worrisome if you experience symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, slight temperature, or eye irritations. However, one should not panic and rush out for getting medical help without verifying the COVID-19 symptoms like shortness of breath, caught, sore throat, chest pain, tiredness, etc.

Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing

When to Seek Help From an Eye Doctor?

There could be a situation where you are feeling extreme discomfort in your eyes. It could be unrelated to Coronavirus but may require medical attention. You should get in touch with an eye doctor if you experience pain, light flashes, sudden loss of vision, blank spots, blurred vision, swelling, or puffiness accompanied by redness.

Connection Between COVID-19 and Conjunctivitis:

Some Coronavirus patients suffer from conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is commonly called ‘pinkeye’ and is the inflammation of the layer that covers an eyeball. A recent study in China suggested that only 9 out of 1099 confirmed COVID-19 patients suffered from ‘conjunctival congestion.’ Contracting COVID-19 via eye secretion is low.

How to Care for Contact Lenses When Not in Use?

As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to switch to spectacles if you are using contact lenses regularly. If you intend to do so, it is necessary that you take good care of the lens and keep them free of any contamination when not in use. Here are some tips:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and then use a microfiber cloth or towel before touching a contact lens. This applies for both – insertion and removal of the lenses from your eyes.
  • Change the contact lens solution at least 2 times every week. The solution should be fresh because it will not remain viable to keep micro-organisms away after sitting in the lens case for long intervals of time.
  • Avoid drying out of lenses. Also avoid lubricating them with water, saliva, or any medium other than contact lens solution.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are a few questions that you might have:

I am suffering from conjunctivitis, does this mean I have COVID-19?

COVID-19 can rarely cause conjunctivitis. If you are not suffering from other symptoms like dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, etc, you may not be infected by Coronavirus. However, seek medical help when suffering from conjunctivitis, avoid self-medication.

Should I wear protective eye equipment to avoid COVID-19?

Protective eye equipment like goggles that are covered from all sides will be helpful in avoiding COVID-19. However, such equipment is necessary when you are around someone that is suffering from COVID-19. If not, normal eyewear can act as a barrier against Coronavirus.

What should I do if I feel like sneezing or coughing during an eye exam?

If you get a bout of cough or sneeze during an eye exam, you should immediately step away from the equipment being used for the examination. Cough or sneeze in your bent elbow and use a tissue to clean up. If possible wash your hands, face, and the crook of the elbow with soap and water before resuming with the permission of your ophthalmologist.

Is wearing glasses or contact lenses a protective measure against COVID-19?

It is recommended to use glasses as it can reduce the chances of transmission up to a certain level. Whereas, wearing contact lenses may increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 as people who wear lenses tend to touch their eyes more often.

References:

  • Coronavirus and Eye Safety, All India Ophthalmological Society, https://www.aios.org/articles-217-coronavirus-and-eye-safety.php
  • Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China, The new england journal o f medicine, https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa2002032

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