The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Contact lenses and the risk of coronavirus infection: what you need to know



Many are interested in what precautions are now needed when manipulating lenses. A number of media publications on this subject are provocative in nature and warn against contact lenses, explaining this by the increased risk of infection, notes Yellmed.

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However, such statements have no scientific evidence, notes - candidate of medical sciences, Chairman of the Coordinating Council of the Russian Association of Specialists in Contact Correction of Vision, associate professor of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Pediatric Faculty of the National Research Medical University named after N.I. Pirogova Irina Vladimirovna Lobanova.

Professional communities of specialists around the world, including the American Academy of Optometry, the British Association of Specialists in Contact Correction of Vision, the International Association of Teachers for Contact Correction of Vision, the European Association of Ophthalmologists for Contact Correction of Vision, and the Russian Association of Specialists in Contact Correction of Vision, are addressing their colleagues and patients with an explanation of the situation.

There is currently no evidence of an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19 when wearing contact lenses compared to wearing glasses. In addition, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that wearing contact lenses is problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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There is no evidence that contact lens users who do not have symptoms of illness should stop wearing contact lenses because of the increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

A new study, published in March 2020 in the journal Ophthalmology, which was conducted on 17 patients infected with COVID-19 with active symptoms, showed that in the samples of their tears taken from the 3rd to the 20th day of the disease, the virus did not was discovered. Researchers acknowledge that this is very early data and with a small representative sample size, but the results suggest a low risk of transmission through the eyes, which is good news.

You need to remember the basic rules for the use and care of lenses, which always minimize the likelihood of any infections or inflammation.

Due to the lack of evidence of a connection between COVID-19 infection and the use of contact lenses, professional associations say that contact lenses can be worn safely if people carry out hygiene procedures and adhere to the rules of wearing and caring in accordance with the recommendations of their doctor.

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From the scientific literature, we know how to prevent contact lens infections with all kinds of pathogens - bacteria, viruses, fungi. Contact lens users need:

  • Before putting on contact lenses, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them with a towel;
  • replace the lenses with a new pair in accordance with the recommended replacement frequency: daily, 1 time in two weeks or 1 time per month;
  • use daily replacement lenses whenever possible;
  • if it is required to use a lens care solution, use it according to the rules, in particular, do not add the solution to the container and do not reuse it;
  • change the lens container for a new one every month or even more often; in the case of daily contact lenses, clean, rinse and store the lens container in the open air every day;
  • do not wear contact lenses during illness, during colds or flu;
  • do not sleep in contact lenses if there is no medical indication for this.

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