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Coronavirus Eye Health

Wearing contact lenses or glasses? Good hygiene will help you keep your eyes healthy and free from infections during the coronavirus outbreak

With the spread of the coronavirus hitting the headlines globally, it is important that you take extra care with your hand hygiene. While most individuals who get coronavirus will experience nothing worse than mild seasonal flu symptoms, you need to take precautions to reduce the risk of infection for yourself and the people around you. One of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of the virus is wash your hands, frequently and thoroughly, with soap and hot water.

The public health advice is clear. You should wash your hands more often than you would normally, especially when you get home after going out, before eating or handling food, and after sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol. You should also try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

If you use contact lenses you need to be even more careful when handling your lenses to reduce the risk of infection. If you’re using alcohol-based disinfectants or chlorine-based disinfectants to clean your hands, dry your hands carefully to ensure that no disinfectant residue remains on your hands before handling the contact lenses.

Here are some dos and don’ts that you should bear in mind when choosing to wear contact lenses, especially with the latest news around coronavirus. These tips will help prevent infection and keep your eyesight at its best.

Do:

  • Wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses
  • Wear your contact lenses only for the length of time recommended by your optometrist
  • Always have a spare up-to-date pair of glasses for when you take your lenses out or in case there’s a challenge with your contact lenses
  • Replace your lenses regularly
  • Use fresh solution to clean your lenses
  • Attend your optometrist appointments and schedule regular eye tests (we recommend an eye test at least once every two years)
  • Recycle your used contact lenses and their packaging responsibly at Optical Express clinics nationwide
  • Ensure you ask your optometrist about your suitability for the alternative vision correction solutions to contact lenses, such as laser eye surgery.

Don't:

  • Touch or insert your lenses with unclean hands
  • Wear any contact lenses, including novelty lenses, that haven't been properly fitted to your eyes
  • Put water or saliva on your lenses or in your eye when you're wearing them
  • Carry on wearing your lenses if they don't look good, feel good or your vision is blurry
  • Use a lens if it looks damaged
  • Sleep in your lenses unless your contact lens practitioner says it's OK to do this
  • Wear your lenses in the shower or hot tub 
  • Wear your lenses while swimming or playing water sports 
  • Reuse a daily disposable lens
  • Store your lenses with tap water
  • Top up your contact lens case with solution – rinse and refill instead
  • Use eye drops whilst wearing your contact lenses unless your contact lens practitioner or optometrist says it's safe to do this
  • Wear someone else's contact lenses or share your lenses with anyone.

If you’re worried about the risk of eye infection, or have any concerns associated with the use of contact lenses, such as discomfort when wearing or reduced wearing times, there are other choices for your vision correction and our expert teams can discuss these with you. Book your free laser eye surgery consultation here.

If you are wearing glasses, the advice from the World Health Organization is to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you ill.

Find out the latest updates on the coronavirus from the Irish Government Department of Health.