Why you shouldn't wear contact lenses while the coronavirus pandemic lasts

After seeing how it is advisable to take care of the visual health during the quarantine, according to the experts, and how the coronavirus can affect the eyes; Another study, recently published by the Journal of Hospital Infection, shows a new precaution that we must take into account to keep our eyes safe.

The report warns that the Covid-19 is capable of staying alive for up to 5 days in silicone rubber, a material frequently used for contact lenses by many manufacturers. Borja Salvador Culla, ophthalmologist at the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center, explains: "According to the study, the virus persists on silicone rubber for 5 days at room temperature (21 ° C). A large part of contact lenses are made of silicone , which turns them into potential local reservoirs that could facilitate the entry of the organism through the conjunctiva. "

Matteo Piovella, President of the Italian Ophthalmological Society, published a statement with the information contained in this study a few days ago and recommended to the population the use of glasses. And the reason from the ophthalmological point of view is that: "It would be advisable to avoid the use of contact lenses as much as possible, especially if we are going to carry out activities with a high risk of contagion (eg caring for a sick COVID -19 positive.) Although the risk of exposure through contact lenses may be low, the fact that they are in close and continuous contact with the eye increases the risk of transmission and contagion. "

Recommendations of the ophthalmologist Borja Salvador Culla for the use of contact lenses during the coronavirus pandemic

-Follow the general protection rules set by the health authorities.

– It would be advisable to avoid long-term contact lenses (for example, monthly ones) and replace them with daily lenses, since handling with the latter is less necessary (they do not require maintenance fluids).

– Extreme measures of hand hygiene when handling contact lenses, regardless of the type we use.

– Avoid the use of contact lenses and wear glasses instead, since these provide us with a physical barrier of protection against any involuntary exposure. In the case of not being able to do without contact lenses (for example, in high myopias), it is essential to take extreme hygiene and precaution measures when handling contact lenses.

– It is advisable to limit the use of electronic device screens during confinement, taking visual breaks every 30 minutes (it is enough to look at the horizon for 30 seconds every 30 minutes and blink 10 times) and regularly moisturizing the eyes with preservative-free artificial tears.

– In the case of not being able to do without the use of contact lenses, it would be advisable to use additional protection measures such as glasses or protective screens in situations of increased risk of accidental exposure to the virus (health personnel, supermarket employees, etc …)

– Go to an ophthalmological emergency service for any sudden loss of vision, appearance of red eye with secretions / legañas, or severe eye pain.

Video:How you should wash your hands to prevent coronavirus

When will we be able to use lenses normally again?

It is still difficult to predict when we will be able to wear lenses on a regular basis as we did before the pandemic. In any case, hygiene is crucial to keep our visual health safe. According to the expert: "We will probably be able to use contact lenses again when the risk of contagion of COVID-19 has dropped to levels similar to those of the flu or the common cold."

You are also interested in