COVID-19 and Contacts: Is It Safe to Continue Wearing Them?

Are you a contact lens wearer? Worried your contacts are putting you at an increased risk of becoming infected with COVID-19? Current research shows it's still safe to wear contacts during the pandemic, so long as you follow proper contact lens hygiene protocols. 


There is currently no scientific evidence that those who wear contact lenses on a regular basis are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to those who wear eyeglasses. While this may come as a relief to contact lens wearers, strict adherence to proper contact lens hygiene practices is urged, as the number of active cases in Alberta continues to remain extremely high. 

Here are the main ways you can practice proper contact lens health so you can protect not only your eyes, but your overall health too.
 

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How to Safely Wear Contacts During COVID-19

If you're someone who always follows the hygiene rules while caring for and wearing your contacts, then the good news is you don't have to change up your habits one bit because of COVID-19. But if you sometimes forget to do everything your optometrist instructed you to upon receiving your contacts for the first time, then this article will serve as a refresher and gentle reminder to up your contact hygiene game. Which is something you should certainly do, seeing as the second wave of COVID-19 is rising all around us here in Calgary and Alberta.
 

Make sure you always wash your hands

At this stage of the pandemic, you might be getting tired of hearing this piece of advice over and over again. But it's really one of our best defences against contracting SARS-CoV-2, and it's extremely important for contact lens wearers to heed this guidance. 

Anytime you're about to handle your lenses, whether it be to insert or remove them or put them in their case for the night, you need to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You also need to dry your hands well with a lint-free towel after washing them. Otherwise, bacteria or germs in the water could get transferred to your contacts and then your eyes.
 

Make sure you clean your lenses regularly and properly

There are three steps to this important contact lens hygiene protocol. They are:

  • Every time you remove your contacts (with clean hands!), you should rub and rinse them with the contact lens solution that has been approved by your optometrist or the manufacturer of your contacts. Never, and we mean never, use saliva or water to clean your lenses. 
  • Don't try to save a few bucks by topping off your old solution. You should always be dumping the old contact lens solution out and rinsing your case with fresh stuff before filling it up again. The disinfecting properties of contact lens solution wear off as time goes on, so if you're constantly topping off your old stuff, then you're putting your eyes at an increased risk for infection.
  • Only use the contact lens solution that has been recommended or approved by your optometrist or the manufacturer of your lenses.

Have Dry Eyes and Wear Contacts? Here Are 5 Rules You Need to Always Follow

Other important contact lens rules

  • Never sleep with your contacts in, unless otherwise instructed by your optometrist or eye doctor. If you do, you could be increasing your risk of an eye infection by up to eight times.
  • Keep your contacts away from water. We touched on this above, but it bears repeating that water can transfer bacteria and germs to your eyes via your contacts. This means no swimming with your contacts in and no showering with them in either.
  • Replace your contact lens case about once every three months. Make sure you never clean it out with water either. Rinse it out with contact lens solution and flip the case upside down so it can dry on a lint-free towel.
     

Keep wearing your contacts — so long as you follow proper hygiene

In a year where so much has been taken away from us, it's nice to hear that there is no scientific evidence that wearing contacts increases your risk of contracting COVID-19. So long as you follow the above hygiene rules, of course.

Contacts are a great way to correct your vision while letting you live the lifestyle you envision for yourself. Just remember we have to be extra vigilant during this second wave in Alberta, so wash your hands, don't touch your face, keep six feet of distance between you and other people, and wear your mask when compelled to by law or when physical distancing isn't possible.
 

Contact Us Today

If you would like more information about caring for your contact lenses Calgary, Specs in the City Optometry has you covered. Simply give us a call at 403-252-2020 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with us. You can also use either method to book a comprehensive eye exam or contact lens fitting appointment at our clinic. We've instituted extensive COVID-19 safety protocols and precautions, so we can keep our customers and staff safe during these uncertain times.

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