Contact lens wear during COVID-19

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, patients continue to look to doctors of optometry, their primary eye health care physicians, for accurate eye health and vision guidance. When it comes to contact lens wear, the American Optometric Association (AOA) and doctors of optometry want to reinforce that contact lenses are a safe and effective form of vision correction for millions of people. The AOA provides the following advice to ensure proper wear and care for contact lenses.

Contact lenses themselves will not give you COVID 19. Contact lens wearers should always practice good hygiene when handling lenses. It has been noted that contact lens wearers touch their faces and eyes when inserting and removing lenses. Touching your face can spread germs.

Exercise proper hand washing. When using contact lenses or spectacles, one should wash their hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. This should occur before every contact lens insertion and removal. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. People should avoid touching their face, including their eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.

Disinfect contact lenses. Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening, or regularly disinfect their monthly and two-week lenses according to instructions from the manufacturer and one's doctor of optometry.

Discontinue lens wear if sick. Consistent with recommendations for other types of illness, those who feel ill with cold or flu-like symptoms should cease contact lens wear.

Glasses are not proven to offer protection. There is no scientific evidence that wearing spectacles or glasses provides protection against COVID-19 or other viral transmissions.

If you have a contact lens prescription that is nearing expiration or has expired, contact your doctor of optometry. Doctors of optometry are working with patients to ensure they have access to needed medical devices. No federal laws related to the Contact Lens Rule prescription verification process have been suspended or waived.

Healthy individuals can continue to wear and care for their contact lenses as prescribed by their doctor of optometry.

Individuals should continue to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.

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