Wearing Contacts Does Not Increase Coronavirus Risk

Contact lens use should be avoided by COVID-19 patients
woman putting contact lens in her eyes

New guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding contact lens wear during the COVID-19 disease pandemic supports their continued use, as prescribed by their eye care professional.

‘Currently, there is no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers,’ says the CDC as of April 14, 2020.

‘Contact lens wearers should continue to practice safe contact lens wear and hygiene habits to help prevent against coronavirus transmission of any contact lens-related infections, such as always washing hands with soap and water before handling lenses.

As information concerning the COVID-19 disease continues to evolve, vision patients should look to their eye care practitioners for accurate eye health guidance.

Contact lenses represent a highly effective form of vision correction for an estimated 140 million people worldwide, with a very low incidence of symptomatic inflammatory keratitis in strict daily wear of contact lenses.

‘During this pandemic, there will potentially be significant changes in access to local eye care. Thus, it is imperative for contact lens wearers to take steps to minimize their risk of complications,’ said the CDC.

Such as, the CDC says hydrogen peroxide-based systems for cleaning, disinfecting, and storing contact lenses should be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

But, ‘for other disinfection methods, such as multipurpose solution and ultrasonic cleaners, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to determine efficacy against the virus,’ says the CDC.

Previously, on April 3, 2020, a study reported ‘there is no evidence of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the tears or conjunctival tissue of asymptomatic patients and even in those confirmed with disease, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on the ocular surface is low.

‘Thus, the binding of SARS-CoV-2 to contact lenses from the ocular surface in asymptomatic wearers would be unlikely.’ 

‘It is advisable that patients confirmed with COVID-19 disease should not wear contact lenses and if a patient were to develop COVID-19, any contact lenses that were being worn at that time should be immediately disposed of as should any remaining disinfecting solutions and contact lens cases that the patient possesses.’

And, the COVID-19 patient should revert to spectacle lens wear and when fully recovered can recommence wear with a new pair of lenses.’

Additionally, these researchers suggest ‘where access to local clinical care is restricted, practitioners could consider advising patients to reduce or eliminate sleeping in their contact lens.’

This is because overnight contact lens wear increases the risk of bacterial keratitis.

Or, consider the option of moving patients to daily disposable lenses where patients have appropriate lens supplies available. 

The use of daily disposable contact lenses substantially reduces the risks of many inflammatory complications, concluded this study’s recommendations.

And, 'COVID-19 patients should also avoid touching their face, including their eyes, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands and avoid contact lens wear altogether if unwell, particularly with any cold or flu-like symptoms.’

Precision Vaccinations publishes research-based news regarding the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.