Toronto, April 13 : People can keep wearing contact lenses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as long as they observe good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions, say researchers.
The study delves into multiple aspects of eye health amidst the global health crisis, with a specific emphasis on the safe use of contact lenses.
"Our findings indicate that contact lenses remain a perfectly acceptable form of vision correction during the coronavirus pandemic, as long as people observe good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions," said study lead author Lyndon Jones from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
"Unfortunately, we have seen a number of erroneous reports regarding contact lenses and spectacles in recent days.
Our goal is to make sure that science-backed truths are understood and shared, helping eye care practitioners provide accurate, timely counsel to patients," Jones added.
According to the study published in the journal Contact Lens (and) Anterior Eye, the research team has developed some facts for eye care practitioners (ECPs) to share with anyone who relies on contact lenses or glasses or spectacles.
There is currently no scientific evidence that contact lens wearers have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 compared with glasses or spectacles wearers, the researchers said.
Patients should consult their eye care practitioners with questions.
Thorough hand washing and drying are essential, as well as properly wearing and caring for contact lenses, ensuring good contact lens case hygiene, and regularly cleaning glasses or spectacles with soap and water.
These habits will help wearers stay healthy and out of their doctor's office or hospital, thereby minimizing impacts on the wider healthcare system.
The researchers said that no scientific evidence supports rumours that everyday eyeglasses/spectacles offer protection against COVID-19.
Whether people wear contact lenses, glasses/spectacles or require no vision correction at all, individuals should avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands, consistent with World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
According to the researchers, contact lens wearers who are ill should temporarily revert to wearing eyeglasses/spectacles.
They can resume use with fresh, new contact lenses and lens cases once they return to full health and have spoken with their eye care practitioner.