All attention on eyes and eyewear

Make sure your glasses and contacts are as clean as can be


We have been wearing masks, keeping a social distance and regularly washing our hands with soap and water to protect ourselves from getting infected with COVID-19. One very important organ that we have to take care of is our eyes. It is because the novel coronavirus can also enter your body through your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, your eyes can also become infected by the virus if you happen to touch your eyes after touching something that has the virus on it.

According to Dr Shyam Vyas, Ophthalmologist at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, you need not panic getting infected through your eyes. However, since it is one of the channels you can get infected through, you have to be little careful.

Experts have been suggesting washing hands frequently and avoiding touching face, nose, mouth and eyes to decrease potential infection, and keeping eyewear (for those who wear them) disinfected is one important thing that should be undertaken while we talk about keeping our eyes safe as well as ourselves.

Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and steel surfaces, so you should be conscious about disinfecting your spectacles (as the frames are made of plastic or steel), and you should also be conscious about safely steps regarding contact lenses as you will be directly touching your eyes with our fingertips while putting and removing them.

“You can safely clean your spectacles by washing them with soap and water, and if you are contact lens user, and if it is not showing any side effects on your eyes, you can continue using it, but use them safely,” says Senior Ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit.

Echoing Dr Ruit’s suggestion, Dr Vyas says, “It is not necessary to clean your spectacles frequently if you are staying at home, but if you go to potentially exposed places of coronavirus, you should wash your spectacles just as you wash your hands with soap and water.”

“Similarly, you can continue wearing contact lenses if you are a regular user, but be conscious to maintain proper hygiene of your hands, cleaning and disinfecting your lenses, among others. You can clean your lenses with contact lens solution to keep your lenses infection-free,” says Dr Vyas, and adds, “However, if your contact lenses start to irritate your eyes, it is better to avoid using them. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has also suggested switching to glasses for a while for contact lens wearers as they are likely to touch their eyes more than the average person.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 28, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.