Peter J. Polack, M.D., F.A.C.S., a fellowship-trained ophthalmologist specializing in refractive surgery, cornea and external diseases, recently addressed questions regarding coronavirus and contact lens users.

If I Wear Contacts, Am I More At Risk for Contracting the Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 coronavirus is transmissible through mucus membranes, which includes your eyes. People who wear contact lenses are more likely to contract the coronavirus since they touch their eyes more frequently.

What Should I Do If I Wear Contacts?

The safest thing to do at this time is not to wear contact lenses, especially if you’re around other people who would increase your risk of exposure. If you do have to wear them, try to wear some plain glasses or sunglasses over them for extra protection. Everyone is reminded not to touch their face or rub their eyes unless they first have been washed with soap and water for 20 seconds. This is doubly true for contact lens wearers.

How Can I Prevent Contracting the Coronavirus?

If you have to rub your eyes or eyelids, do so with a clean tissue instead of your fingers. Also, if you have any pain or irritation in your eyes while wearing contacts, wash your hands and immediately remove your contact lenses.

If your symptoms worsen, contact your eye doctor for advice. Most practices have eliminated routine visits to not only protect the medical staff, but also to protect you and other patients. But problems related to contact lens use, which does not improve, are considered urgent and should be evaluated to avoid serious complications.

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