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COVID-19 and vision health

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A message from our Chief Medical Officer, Mark C. Ruchman, MD

At Versant Health, our first concern is always the health and wellbeing of our members. During times like these, I find that members are seeking information and turn to trusted organizations like ours for guidance. Here are some answers to questions related to COVID-19 and eye health.

Do glasses protect against COVID-19?
Wearing glasses will not provide adequate barrier protection, mainly because the sides, tops and bottoms of the area around your eyes are still exposed. For those of you caring for someone who may be infected by the virus, consider wearing safety goggles for more complete protection.

Is it safe to wear contact lenses?
You may continue to wear contact lenses1, although I encourage you to be extra vigilant about disinfecting your hands. If you find you tend to touch your eyes more often when you wear contact lenses, consider wearing glasses instead. Also, be sure to wash and disinfect your hands before handling your contacts. Strictly follow the instructions for handling and care of your contact lenses provided by your contact lens supplier.

Are there any eye related symptoms for coronavirus?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that coronavirus can cause conjunctivitis2, also known as pink eye, although it appears to be rare3. If you suspect you have pink eye and are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, please call your primary care provider
for guidance.

Is it okay to seek routine vision care at this time?
In keeping with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you are encouraged to postpone routine eye exams.

What else can I do to protect my eyes?
The best way to protect your eyes is follow the guidelines for preventing transmission of COVID-19 set forth by the CDC. You can find detailed instructions at this link.

Sources
1. https://bit.ly/2QOrKc6, 2. https://bit.ly/2QNvESr, 3. https://bit.ly/3aqUXl5

About Dr. Ruchman
Mark Ruchman, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer at Versant Health. Dr. Ruchman provides all medical and clinical oversight, which includes quality improvement, clinical guidelines, and accreditation standards.

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