Health

Can Coronavirus Spread Through Your Glasses or Contact Lenses?

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The coronavirus pandemic now has over five million confirmed cases around the world with a rising death toll. Even though a number of countries have controlled the infection to an extent, the risk of coronavirus spread remains to be extremely high.

This is why all official health agencies are increasingly emphasizing following the guidelines including washing hands frequently, carrying hand sanitizer, limiting time spent outdoors, wearing a mask, and avoiding physical contact to prevent contracting SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus responsible for causing coronavirus infection.

According to research, the virus is highly contagious and can easily transmit from one person to another even without physical contact. In fact, a number of studies have highlighted how the virus-containing particles released into the air through coughing and sneezing and stay in the air for a considerable amount of time and travel long distances.

In addition, SARS-CoV-2 can even stay on inanimate things and surfaces such as counters, handles, doors, utensils, and other items for up to seventy-two hours.

Therefore, it is very important to take extra precautionary measures than before in order to prevent catching the coronavirus infection including wearing a mask even indoors especially if one lives in an apartment building or shared housing.

Similarly, since the virus can survive on surfaces for a long time, a number of people have raised questions on whether coronavirus spread is possible through contact lenses or glasses, both of which are necessary for everyday activities for a major portion of the population around the world.

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According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the virus is actually highly unlikely to spread through contact lenses. However, while the risk of coronavirus spread is still high, it is better to switch to glasses and limit the use of lenses as much as possible.

Danielle Natale, who is an optometrist at LifeBridge Health Krieger Eye Institute in Baltimore, says that while there is no evidence to show that the coronavirus can spread via the use of contact lenses, switching to glasses is safer as many people who wear lenses are likely to touch their eyes every then and now.

Proper handwashing before and after wearing as well as removing the contact lenses can effectively prevent coronavirus infection but lenses tend to cause irritation or may need adjustment throughout the day.

In accordance with official guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, touching the face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth should be avoided especially during the time spent outdoors without washing hands before.

The virus cannot enter the body and cause an infection if it is only on the hands. However, if it is on the face, the person is likely to develop coronavirus infection.

Since wearing contact lenses may cause people to touch their eyes, glasses are always a safer and more comfortable option given that the glasses are also handled with care and cleaned regularly.

Avoid cleaning glasses with tissues and cloth and they only make the lens dirtier and increase the risk of coronavirus spread. Instead, opt for soap and water. Dry the glasses using a microfiber towel, which too should be cleaned on a daily basis.

Many people assume that wearing glasses can provide protection from the coronavirus infection but this is not true. Glasses may protect from larger particles in everyday life but the eyes are usually exposed from the top, sides, and the bottom which is why safety goggles or eyewear are better options if working in a highly exposed environment.

While wearing either contact lenses or glasses, make sure to wash hands before and after wearing or removing them. Additionally, do not leave either of them on a surface that is not clean and can infect them.

 

 

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Abeera I. Kazmi

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