Education & Resources

Contact Lenses & COVID-19

Jaclyn Munson
April 22, 2020

Dear Family of Patients,

We are thrilled to bring you the most comfortable, clear, and convenient ways to enjoy your vision. Contact lenses often a wonderful additive to your quality of life. The bad news is, nationwide, 65% of new contact lens wearers drop out within the first twelve months of using the medical device.

Fort Collins Family Eye Care takes a preventative approach; protecting your outcomes as a contact lens wearer. As members of our family, you know that the ocular surface and the levels of moisture on the front of your eyes are the leading determinants as to whether you have an optimized, long-term successful visual experience with contact lenses or not. Whether it’s your first time learning about contact lens options, or you are seasoned user, your team of eye care providers at Fort Collins Family Eye Care is working behind the scenes to prepare you and minimize the eye health risks.

Visit our Ocular Surface Disease and Contact Lens Rejuvenation pages to learn more about whether or not your ocular surface is supporting a successful contact lens experience.

What risks do contact lenses pose with the COVID-19 virus?

Currently there is no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers.

  • Contact lens wearers should continue to practice safe contact lens wear and care hygiene habits to help prevent against transmission of any contact lens-related infections, such as always washing hands with soap and water before handling lenses.
  • People who are healthy can continue to wear and care for their contact lenses as prescribed by their eye care professional.
  • Handle your lenses over a surface that has been cleaned and disinfected.
  • For patients utilizing extended wear contact lenses (monthly, quarterly, etc) Hydrogen peroxide-based systems for cleaning, disinfecting, and storing contact lenses should be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • For other disinfection methods, such as multipurpose solution and ultrasonic cleaners, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to determine efficacy against the virus.
    • Always use solution to disinfect your contact lenses and case to kill germs that may be present.
  • For patients utilizing single use, or daily contact lenses, you are able to enjoy the added safety benefit of sterile contact lenses with each use.
    • Contact lens cleaning solution is discouraged in these cases.

The CDC issued guidance from the Contact Lens Institute regarding contact lens wear and care that echoed the sentiments from Walsh and her co-authors.

The facts are:

  • People can keep wearing contact lenses
  • Good hygiene habits are critical
  • Regular eyeglasses and spectacles do not provide protection
  • Keep unwashed hands away from the face
  • If you are sick, temporarily stop wearing contact lenses

Specifically, the agency stated that contact lens use is safe for healthy individuals, that there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk for COVID-19 compared with wearing glasses, and that contact lens wearers should maintain standard lens wear and care hygiene habits.

“In the weeks since COVID-19 emerged, many have wondered if it’s okay to wear contact lenses,” Rick Weisbarth, OD, FAAO, board chairman of the Contact Lens Institute, said in a press release. “In a time when there is considerable misinformation and rumor, the CDC has now provided clear, straightforward guidance as to how contact lens wearers can continue to wear their lenses safely, including following proper lens hygiene habits.”

Fort Collins Family Eye Care will keep you updated as we advocate and review new data for you and your family. Contact us, pun intended, if you would like to improve, safeguard, and even add this opportunity for improved quality of life to your world.

Steadfast in Prevention,

Dr. Jaclyn Munson

Reference: Jones L, et al. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. 2020; doi:10.1016/j.clae.2020.03.012.

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