While the public is hearing about mouth, nose and hand protection to stay safe from COVID-19, many may be overlooking protection for another key body part—their eyes.
Here are 5 tips to protect your eyes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Consider wearing safety goggles if you are caring for someone infected by the virus. This is important even if you are not a healthcare worker. Normal glasses may not provide adequate barrier protections as the sides, tops and bottoms of the area around your eyes are still exposed.
- Opt for glasses, not contacts. But if you must wear contact lenses, the American Optometric Association recommends that you scrub your hands carefully with soap and water at least 20 seconds and hand dry with a paper towel before lens insertion or removal.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. If you have a strong itch, or even feel the need to adjust your glasses, use a tissue instead of your fingers. Dry eyes can cause itching, so consider adding moisturizing eye drops to your daily routine. And if you must touch your eyes for any reason, including to administer eye medicine, first wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. And wash them again after touching your eyes.
- Don’t delay treatment for urgent eye issues. You may be concerned about visiting a doctor’s office during the pandemic. But delaying treatment could cause permanent eye and vision damage. Call your ophthalmologist in the following situations:
- You have macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy and need regular eye injections
- You notice changes in your vision or a loss of vision
- You experience an eye injury
- You have eye pain and a severe headache
- Your eyes are very red and irritated. There are some reports that people with coronavirus may develop pink eye conjunctivitis.
- Stock up on critical eye care supplies and medications. Keep in mind that some insurers will approve a 3-month supply of medication during a crisis or natural disaster.