(NewsUSA) - It's a common question: can I wear my contact lenses during the COVID-19 pandemic? New research led by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) is helping the billions of people who rely on contact lenses or glasses take care of their eyes, dispelling coronavirus myths.
Dr. Lyndon Jones, CORE's director and the world's most-published expert in contact lens research, offers these valuable tips for healthy vision.
1. You Can Keep Wearing Contact Lenses.
There is currently no scientific evidence that contact lens wearers have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 compared with glasses wearers. As always, you should consult your own eye doctor with any specific questions.
2. Good Hygiene Habits are Critical.
Thorough handwashing and drying are essential. Properly wear and care for your contact lenses, making sure you practice good contact-lens-case hygiene. Also, regularly clean your glasses with soap and water. These habits can help you stay healthy and out of your doctor's office or the hospital.
3. Regular Eyeglasses Do Not Provide Protection.
There is no scientific evidence to support rumors that everyday glasses offer protection against COVID-19.
4. Keep Unwashed Hands Away from Your Face.
Whether you wear contact lenses, glasses or require no vision correction at all, you should avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands. This is consistent with World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
5. If You Are Sick, Temporarily Stop Wearing Contact Lenses.
If you are ill, temporarily stop wearing your contacts and use your glasses instead. Once you return to full health and have spoken with your eye doctor, you can start again. Make sure to use new contact lenses and a new lens case.
The five facts are now available with other eye- health recommendations at COVIDEyeFacts.org. They are central to a new peer-reviewed paper authored by Dr. Jones and four other prominent eye scientists, published in the research journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye.
"Our findings indicate that contact lenses remain a perfectly acceptable form of vision correction during the coronavirus pandemic. People need to remember to practice good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions, as instructed by their eye doctor," says Dr. Jones. "There has been considerable misinformation circulating about wearing contact lenses and glasses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to make sure that science-backed truths are understood and shared, replacing fear with fact."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance on contact lens wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting key findings from the CORE-led research. The CDC also points out that personal eyeglasses and contact lenses do not qualify as personal protective equipment.
The Centre for Ocular Research & Education was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo's School of Optometry & Vision Science in Ontario, Canada. Since then, CORE has been at the heart of many prominent advances in eye health, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, and digital technologies.