Contact lens wearers should switch to glasses during pandemic, some experts say

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is encouraging contact lens wearers to switch to glasses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edmonton — Your eyeglasses may be a safer choice than contact lenses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to American experts.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recently issued new safety guidelines and suggestions, encouraging  lens wearers to make the switch, for two reasons.

First, people who wear contact lenses tend to touch their eyes and face more often than those who wear glasses – at least twice daily to insert and remove the lenses and throughout the day if the lenses get uncomfortable.

Without proper hygiene, this repeated face touching can increase chances of contracting the virus. The second reason is that eyeglasses can serve as a protective barrier, preventing you from touching your eyes and shielding them from any airborne contaminants. While contracting the virus through exposure to the eyes alone is rare, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra layer of defence.

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) said that while there is no data indicating that those who wear contact lenses are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, it does not discourage people from following the AAO’s advice.

“If [they] feel more comfortable wearing glasses at this time, that feeling is understandable, and they should make the switch,” the COS told CTVNews.ca in an email.

While the COS has yet to develop any specific recommendations regarding contact lenses during the coronavirus pandemic, its spokesperson emphasized the importance of hand washing for 20 seconds before touching your eyes or face.