Photo by Clem Onojeghuo (Canva Images)
Coronavirus-related safety is crucial if you wear contact lenses, eyeglasses or safety glasses/goggles, experts say.
While the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends limiting use of contact lenses and switching to eyeglasses during the pandemic, the American Optometric Association says there’s no evidence that wearing contacts increases COVID-19 risk.
If you develop cold- or flu-like symptoms, however, stop wearing contact lenses, experts say.
The new coronavirus can spread through respiratory droplets people emit when breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing.
“So, it’s best, if possible, to protect your eyes with glasses, goggles, a face shield, or some other form of eye protection,” an ophthalmologist expert at the institute reported.
While everyday eyeglasses protect from in front of the eyes, they may not provide adequate protection from the top, bottom and sides of frames. Safety glasses or goggles can do so, however, according to an institute news release.
The institute recommends cleaning glasses daily with a gentle soap and water, and drying them with a microfiber lens cloth.
“It’s important to avoid wiping glasses with tissue paper or the hem of a shirt, or any other cloth that’s not designed for cleaning lenses, because these things will cause scratches,” experts reported.
Wash microfiber cloths regularly. They can be hand-washed with a gentle soap and then hung to dry.
Don’t place glasses or contact lenses on any surface you aren’t sure is clean and don’t let others handle your glasses. Keep eyewear stored in a clean case when not in use, and experts said, don’t let them hang from your neck with a string holder.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
Understanding Eye Gunk
Eye gunk, known medically as rheum, is the crust that forms in the corners of your eyes when you wake up in the morning.
Sleep crust is a mix of mucus, skin cells, oils and tears shed by the eye during sleep, says the University of Utah.
While white or cream-colored gunk is normal, yellow or green is not, and can be a sign of conjunctivitis or a chronic eye condition.
The school says you should see an ophthalmologist if your eye gunk is discolored.