One of the ways we’re being asked to limit the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid touching our faces. Of course, if you wear contact lenses, touching your face is something you do regularly — but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon contact lenses during the pandemic. We asked Bupa optometrist Karen Makin to debunk some of the myths surrounding COVID-19 and the use of contact lenses and glasses.
Whatever you’ve heard, wearing contact lenses is still safe – provided you are washing your hands thoroughly, in line with the government’s hygiene recommendations.
“Ensure that you are washing your hands for at least 20 seconds before you touch your eyes or contact lenses. If you’ve done that, then it’s fine to wear contact lenses,” says Makin.
“Also ensure that you look after your contact lenses properly — cleaning your contact lenses after removal if they’re reusable lenses, and cleaning your case as advised.”
But be careful with hand sanitiser — don’t use it before you touch your eyes or your lenses. “Because hand sanitiser is alcohol based, it can cause irritation,” Makin explains.
This is totally untrue.
“COVID-19 is spread by droplets,” says Makin. “If somebody with COVID-19 was to sneeze or cough in your environment, your glasses aren’t big enough to stop any droplet from getting near your eyes or your face. Anything can get in around glasses.”
Makin worries that wearing glasses might lull some people into a false sense of security because they’re not touching their eyes. Glasses won’t protect you against COVID-19, so it’s important to continue following government’s regulations around social distancing, practising good hygiene and self-isolating if you’re sick.
Just like before the pandemic, wearing contact lenses when you’re sick isn’t a good idea.
“If you are unwell — whether it be that you think you’ve got COVID-19 or whether you’ve got a cold or something like that — we do suggest you don’t wear contact lenses.”
This is because your eyes may be more likely to get irritated when you’re sick.
While most Bupa Optical stores are closed except for urgent appointments, you can still order contact lenses online, as well as selected sunglasses and prescription glasses. Extended returns are available. For more information phone customer care on 1300 664 142.