Know your coronavirus risks and how to reduce them this winter.
Those of us in the health care field have heard plenty of new questions from our patients in 2020 as COVID-19 continues to change the health landscape. For Matossian Eye Associates’ patients who wear contact lenses, the virus has special significance: the fear of exposure during contact use.
To date, there has been no strong correlation drawn between contact lens use and COVID-19 infection rates. However, it’s no secret that viruses enter the body through mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose, and yes, the eyes. We can pick up viruses when we touch contaminated surfaces then touch our face. According to a 2015 study by the American Journal of Infection Control, people touch their faces more than 20 times per hour; they touch their mouth, nose and eyes about half of those times.
There are two reliable ways to stop the virus in its tracks before it wreaks havoc: 1) Don’t touch your face. 2.) Wash hands frequently. Read on for tips on achieving maximum success with both approaches.
When should I wash my hands to prevent COVID-19?
Just about every surface you touch during your day – especially in public places – there lies an opportunity for germs, viruses and other contaminants. So, it’s just as imperative to know when to wash your hands as it is to know how.
If you wear contact lenses, always wash your hands at these times:
- Before inserting contacts
- After removing contacts
- Before and after cleaning contact lenses
Contact lens wearers and everyone else should also wash hands after:
- Touching doorknobs, handrails, cart handles, etc., in public spaces
- Visiting the restroom
- Feeding or touching pets
- Taking out trash
- Blowing your nose, or sneezing or coughing on your hands
- Touching your face, especially eyes, nose or mouth
- Preparing or serving food
- Dressing a wound
- Caring for a sick or injured person
- Noticing any visible dirt on hands
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), contacts that are properly cared for remain safe and effective when handwashing recommendations are followed.
How can I avoid touching my face?
Face-touching is an extremely difficult habit to break, mostly because we do it so often that it becomes a subconscious action. This is where face coverings really shine!
Wear a mask. Not only will a mask reduce the amount of virus or germs you breathe in and out, it reduces the likelihood that you will introduce the virus through a mucous membrane. A mask serves as a reminder not to touch your face and creates a physical barrier to the mouth and nose if you do it anyway.
If you have additional questions about contact lens use during the pandemic, contact Matossian Eye Associates. (Please DO NOT schedule an appointment with us if you suspect you may have contracted the coronavirus. Instead, call your general practitioner for guidance on COVID-19 testing and treatment if you are experiencing fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, fatigue, loss of taste and/or smell, or other symptoms associated with this virus.)
Are you a contact wearer interested in other vision correction options? Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Matossian Eye Associates through our online scheduler at MatossianEye.com.