Contact Lens Wear and COVID-19

April 14, 2020 — A newly released peer-reviewed paper, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners,” shares information on the safety of contact lens wear amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our findings indicate that contact lenses remain a perfectly acceptable form of vision correction during the coronavirus pandemic, as long as people observe good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions,” says Dr. Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo and the paper’s lead author. “Unfortunately, we have seen a number of erroneous reports regarding contact lenses and spectacles in recent days. Our goal is to make sure that science-backed truths are understood and shared, helping eyecare practitioners provide accurate, timely counsel to patients.”

Based on the research, CORE has presented five facts for ECPs to share.

  1. People 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. Patients should consult their eyecare practitioners with questions.
  2. Good Hygiene Habits are Critical. Thorough handwashing and drying are essential, as well as properly wearing and caring for contact lenses, ensuring good contact lens case hygiene, and regularly cleaning glasses with soap and water. These habits will help wearers stay healthy and out of their doctor’s office or hospital, thereby minimizing impacts on the wider healthcare system.
  3. Regular Glasses Do Not Provide Protection. No scientific evidence supports rumors that everyday eyeglasses offer protection against COVID-19.
  4. Keep Unwashed Hands Away from the Face. Whether people wear contact lenses, glasses, or require no vision correction at all, individuals should avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands, consistent with World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
  5. If You Are Sick, Temporarily Stop Wearing Contact Lenses. Contact lens wearers who are ill should temporarily revert to wearing glasses. They can resume use with fresh, new contact lenses and lens cases once they return to full health and have spoken with their eyecare practitioner.