COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is urging whose who wear contact lenses to switch over to eyeglasses for the time being.
In a tweet Thursday, DeWine said making the switch will help you avoid touching your eyes as much as possible.
He said if it’s necessary to wear contacts, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching your eyes.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology says the coronavirus can spread through eyes and limiting eye exposure can help. Here’s why:
- When a sick person coughs or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face. You’re most likely to inhale these droplets through your mouth or nose, but they can also enter through your eyes.
- You can also become infected by touching something that has the virus on it — like a table or doorknob — and then touching your eyes.
Eye professionals offer these tips for people who wear contacts:
- If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses for a while. Contact lens wearers touch their eyes more than the average person. “Consider wearing glasses more often, especially if you tend to touch your eyes a lot when your contacts are in. Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye,” Dr. Tuli advises. If you continue wearing contact lenses, follow these hygiene tips to limit your chances of infection.
- Wearing glasses may be an extra layer of protection. Corrective lenses or sunglasses can shield your eyes from infected respiratory droplets. But they don’t provide 100% security. The virus can still reach your eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms of your glasses. If you’re caring for a sick patient or potentially exposed person, safety goggles may offer a stronger defense.
- Stock up on eye medicine prescriptions if you can. Experts advise patients to stock up on critical medications so that you’ll have enough to get by if you are quarantined or if supplies become limited during an outbreak. But this may not be possible for everyone. If your insurance allows you to get more than 1 month of essential eye medicine, such as glaucoma drops, you should do so. Some insurers will approve a 3-month supply of medication in times of natural disaster. Ask your pharmacist or ophthalmologist for help if you have trouble getting approval from your insurance company. And as always, request a refill as soon as you’re due. Don’t wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. We all do it. While it can be hard to break this natural habit, doing so will lower your risk of infection. If you feel an urge to itch or rub your eye or even to adjust your glasses, use a tissue instead of your fingers. Dry eyes can lead to more rubbing, so consider adding moisturizing drops to your eye routine. If you must touch your eyes for any reason — even to administer eye medicine — wash your hands first with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then wash them again afterwards.
- Practice safe hygiene and social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer general guidelines to slow the spread of disease:
Coronavius may cause pink eye, though this is rare, according to the academy.