IMPORTANT: How to Take Care of Your Contact Lenses During the COVID-19 Crisis (Updated: 3/29/2020)
Contact lenses may still be worn during the COVID-19 crisis, but extra care needs to be taken to make sure you keep your case and hands clean and avoid contamination.
While the jury is still out as to whether COVID-19 is found in tears, a small recently published study did not find evidence of the virus in tears.
We do know however that the COVID-19 virus can enter our bodies through the surface of our eyes. This is why it is important to follow strict handwashing procedures when touching contact lenses and applying them to the eyes. You must always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water prior to any lens handling.
If your occupation exposes you to aerosolized saliva or saliva droplets make sure you wear a face shield or protective goggles.
Of course, the least risky measure at this time would be to avoid touching your face or eyes which would include using contact lenses unless you absolutely need them to function visually.
Taking more rigorous care of your contact lens case is extremely important.
Contact lens cases may be sanitized in the dishwasher or by being placed in boiling water for at least 3 minutes. Do this at least weekly.
Contact lens solutions must be replaced in the case each day, do not top off solutions. If it is difficult for you to obtain an adequate amount of solutions for your rigid gas permeable lenses, it is acceptable to use soft lens solutions which may be obtained in larger volumes.
Only use contact lens solutions for rinsing and cleaning cases. Do not use tap water or other bottled water. They could contain organisms that can infect the eye. If necessary, use boiling water as described above.
Clean the inside of your case daily, using either a clean finger or a lint free cloth. Rub the inside of the case and its lids in a circular motion for at least 5 seconds to remove any biofilms. Rinse the case and its lids with contact lens solutions only and shake off excess moisture.
Place your case and its lids on a clean lint free cloth or paper towel face down to air dry.
It is not recommended that you dry or store your case in the bathroom where it is humid and may be exposed to other aerosolized contaminants.
If you use 1 day lenses, replace them as directed. Scleral lens wearers should continue to use their specialized solutions. Ideally, you should replace your case every three months.
Be safe and share this with other contact lens wearers.
Leslie P. Brodsky, OD, FAAO
UPDATE: March 29, 2020
We continue to be available throughout the COVID-19 crisis for emergency or urgent eye care needs, but we are still not available for any routine / elective services. We will continue to monitor developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic around the clock, and we will continue to post periodic updates here and on our website (www.eyeconsultantsofpa.com).
If you have a true eye care emergency, call our offices at 610-378-1344 and follow the prompts to communicate that you are having a true medical emergency. If you need to speak with any of our other departments or services, continue listening to our menu options or dial the direct extension of your desired employee.
We have precautions in place to ensure a safe and healthy visit to all of our office locations when the situation resolves, and we can resume our total eye care model. If your appointment has been postponed, we will contact you to reschedule as soon as we feel it is safe and appropriate to do so. We will also advise patients when we are able to accept new appointments for routine and/or elective eye care, again, via Social Media and our website.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are working to contain and mitigate the coronavirus.
Thank you for your continued trust, and we sincerely hope that you, your families, friends, and loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this crisis.
Adam J. Altman, MD
President, Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania
Adam J. Altman, MD
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania