How the coronavirus may affect your eyes
Patients who have contracted the new coronavirus may have ocular symptoms. A study in The Journal of Medical Virology of 30 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 had only one patient diagnosed with conjunctivitis. Based on this information, the occurrence of conjunctivitis is low. However, it is important to share the signs and symptoms.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the membrane covering the eyeball. It is often referred to as “pink eye.” Conjunctivitis often presents as an infected, red, “wet and watery” eye. Viral conjunctivitis is known to present with upper respiratory infections (colds, flus, etc.) and may be a symptom of the COVID-19 virus. A recent study of hospitals across China, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , found “conjunctival congestion” or red, infected eyes in 9 of 1,099 patients (0.8%) with a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus.
Top Contact Lens Experts Dispel Misinformation Regarding Coronavirus / COVID-19 Protection for Contact Lens Wearers
WATERLOO, Ontario, March 12, 2020—Three of the world’s most published researchers in eye health are responding to misinformation circulating regarding contact lens and spectacles/glasses wear amidst Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo (Canada); Philip Morgan, director of Eurolens Research at The University of Manchester (United Kingdom); and Jason Nichols, Associate Vice President Research and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (United States) and editor in chief of Contact Lens Spectrum, are advising eye care professionals and consumers to heed sound, evidence-based practices.
- Contact Lens Wear is Safe. Despite myths and misinformation that have arisen over the past 48 hours, contact lens wear remains a safe and highly effective form of vision correction for millions of people worldwide.
- Proper Hand Washing is Essential. When using contact lenses or spectacles, careful and thorough hand washing soap and water followed by hand drying with unused paper towels is paramount. For contact lens wearers, this should occur before every insertion and removal.
- Disinfect Contact Lenses. Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening regularly disinfect their monthly and two-week lenses according to manufacturer and eye care professional instructions.
- Disinfect Spectacles and Glasses. Some viruses such as COVID-19 can remain on hard surfaces for hours to day which can be transferred to spectacles wearers’ fingers and faces. This especially holds true for presbyopes (people generally over the age of 40). Most presbyopes require reading glasses and they may be putting them on and off the face multiple times a day. This age group appears to be among the more vulnerable population for developing CO 19, as compared with contact lens wearers, who are typically younger.
- Discontinue Lens Wear Only if Sick. Ceasing contact lens wear when sick is advised, consistent with guidance for other types of illness.
- Spectacles are Not Proven to Offer Protection. There is no scientific evidence that wearing spectacles or glasses provide protection against COVID-19 or other viral transmissions.
A recent peer-reviewed paper published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye draws attention to how hand washing habits co affect the development of contact lens related microbial keratitis and corneal inflammatory events.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommend that people clean their hands often to reduce their risk of contracting the virus. Specifically, they advise all people to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Use approved personal protective eyewear (medical masks, goggles or face shields) in certain settings involved in care of patients.
Boerne Vision Center is Here to Help
We are doing everything we can to assure continued access to essential health care, including urgent and emergent care to reduce current and expected burdens on emergency departments.
- Prescriptions will be refilled within 24 hours of business day.
- Someone will be available during business hours to take your calls, text, emails, fax, etc. throughout the temporary closure of Boerne Vision Center.
- We are offering free shipping on all contacts to be shipped to your home.
- Glasses can be arranged to be delivered to your home.
- Emergency Walk-ins welcomed after temporary closure.
- We are closing down temporarily as precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to make sure that our clinic follows the CDC Guidance for healthcare facilities.
- Staff has been thoroughly (re)trained as per CDC guidelines and multiple emergency meetings have taken place.
In the current patient care environment, doctors and their essential professional staff have a responsibility to ensure that all fully appropriate care preparation guidelines and requirements are strictly observed.
Dr. Johnson & Boerne Vision Center Team