Although there's no evidence to date that contact lens wearers are more at risk for contracting COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers, the pandemic is on the minds of patients. Perhaps because of warnings about touching their faces (mouth,nose,eyes) there has been misinformation out there that wearers should avoid their contact lenses during the pandemic.
But the literature to date doesn't support the increased risk of Covid infection from contact lens wear provided patients follow all the same recommendations we've been saying for years on how to wear contact lenses and handle them properly. Unfortunately, the AOA found that up to 90% of contact lens wearers do not follow the proper hygiene instructions for their lenses, which can pose serious risks to eye health and vision.
The American Optometric Association and the CDC have reinforced their guidance that with proper hygiene contact lenses can be worn safely during the COVID-19 pandemic as long as proper hygiene is used including:
•Exercise proper handwashing. When using contact lenses, wash your hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. This should occur before every contact lens insertion and removal. People should avoid touching their face, including their eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
•Disinfect contact lenses. Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening, or regularly disinfect non-disposable lenses according to instructions from the manufacturer and one's eye doctor.
•Discontinue lens wear if sick. Consistent with recommendations for other types of illness, those who feel ill with cold or flu-like symptoms should cease contact lens wear.
Contact lenses provide a safe and effective form of vision correction for millions of Americans. Just be sure to practice safe habits of hygiene, especially during this pandemic.