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Taking care of your eyes during COVID-19

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19. Not only should individuals avoid close contact with others and wash their hands often. It is also critical to keep your hands away from your face and eyes.

COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person when a sick person coughs or talks. Virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face or eyes. It can also be spread through touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has offered some recommendations on how to significantly reduce your risk of getting infected while taking care of your eyes during the COVID-19 outbreak. Below are seven ways you can help prevent the risk of infection.

7 ways to take care of your eyes and reduce your risk

  1. Try wearing glasses. If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses for a while. Individuals who wear contact lenses tend to touch their eyes more often than the average person. Changing to glasses may help prevent exposure and reduce eye-rubbing. Both corrective lenses and sunglasses can also shield your eyes from infected respiratory droplets. Although they do not provide 100% security, it can offer some defense.
  2. Keep your glasses clean. The virus can live on many surfaces, which is why it is essential to clean and disinfect your lenses daily using soap and water. Polish them with a dry cloth.
  3. Avoid rubbing your eyes. If you need to rub your eyes, wash your hands, and use a gentle cleansing wipe.
  4. Ensure you have plenty of critical eye care supplies and medications. Stock up on essential eye care supplies and medications in the event of quarantine or limited availability. Some insurers will approve a 3-month supply of medication during a crisis or natural disaster.
  5. Contact your eye care provider regarding upcoming appointments. Most routine patient visits, such as an annual eye exam, or appointment for glasses, will be rescheduled over the next couple of months. Urgent and emergent cases will resume. Contact your eye care provider’s office BEFORE traveling to the office to check whether your appointment is cancelled or not.
  6. Use the following precautions if you have an appointment:
    • Call the provider’s office ahead of time if you have a cough or fever. If the appointment is not an emergency, you may need to stay home.
    • If you need to cough or sneeze during your exam, move away from the microscope. Bury your head and face into the crook of your arm or cover your face with a tissue. Wash your hands with soap and water right away.
    • If you arrive at doctor’s office sick, it is best to wear a protective covering or mask and to stay as far away as possible from other patients.
  7. Practice safe hygiene and social distancing:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If you don’t have access to a sink, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • If you cough or sneeze, cover your face with the inside of your arm or a tissue. If you use a tissue, throw it away promptly. Then wash your hands.
    • Avoid close contact with sick people. If you think someone is not well, it’s safest to stay 6 feet away.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items in your house, such as doorknobs and countertops.

It is important to follow all safety precautions to reduce the risk of becoming infected or infecting others. By safeguarding your eyes, and mouth, you can significantly help slow the spread of the coronavirus. For more information on COVID-19 visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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