EYE HEALTH TIPS & CONTACT LENS SAFETY
We hope this message finds you and your loved ones well during these trying times. As with all eye care providers in the country, the CDC has asked Northside Vision to suspend its eye exams to reduce the spread of the virus and to help conserve vital disposable medical supplies (like masks and face shields) so they can be used in hospitals where they are most needed right now.
There are a lot of messages out there about helping to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus— but few of them address your eyes. So, here are some important pointers from Dr. Fairborn about your eye health during these difficult times:
Limiting eye exposure can help. Here’s why:
Experts say guarding your eyes — as well as your hands and mouth — can slow the spread of coronavirus. The most likely way to infect yourself is to touch a contaminated surface (like a shopping cart, grocery item, or door handle) and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
How to help yourself and others:
Dr. Fairborn advises, “It’s important to remember that although there is a lot of concern about coronavirus, common-sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected. Stay home when possible and avoid crowds. Wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes.”
If you wear contact lenses, consider switching 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. Fairborn advises. If you continue wearing contact lenses, follow these hygiene tips to limit your chances of infection.
Proper Hand Washing is Essential. When using contact lenses or spectacles, careful and thorough handwashing with soap and water, followed by hand drying with clean paper towels is paramount. For contact lens wearers, this should occur before every insertion and removal.
Disinfect Contact Lenses. Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening or regularly disinfect their monthly and 2-week lenses according to the manufacturer and eye care professional instructions.
Wash Eyeglasses and Sunglasses. Some viruses such as COVID-19 can remain on hard surfaces for hours to days, which can be transferred to spectacles wearers’ fingers and faces. So be sure to carefully wash your frames with warm soapy water at least once a day and store your glasses in a case when not in use. Use mild dish detergent and avoid chemicals (NO Clorox, bleach, alcohol or sanitizer).
Discontinue Lens Wear if Sick. Ceasing contact lens wear when sick is advised, consistent with guidance for other types of illness. If you notice your glasses aren’t working as well as they used to, plan to come in for an eye exam when things re-open and we will be sure to help you get an updated pair of glasses for emergencies.
Wearing glasses may add a 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.
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 these general guidelines to slow the spread of disease:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- You should especially wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
- If you can’t get 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 your elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue, throw it away promptly. Then go wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. If you think someone has a respiratory infection, 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.
- Stay well and we look forward to seeing you all again soon. Please keep an eye out for a notice from us about our resumption of normal care. In the meantime, please check our Facebook page for updates, and call our office if you experience any of the following:
- You notice sudden alarming changes in your vision (like blurry, wavy or blank spots in your field of vision);
- You notice a lot of new floaters or flashes in your vision;
- You suddenly lose some vision.
Stay Safe & Healthy,