COVID-19 and your eyes

Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 is all over the news right now. What risk does it have to the health of your eyes? Can you spread or catch the disease through your eyes? There is a lot of information on the internet and people are spreading around, so let’s get to some known facts. COVID-19 started in China, in the city of Wuhan. It spreads through respiratory droplets when people breath, cough, or sneeze. Due to the ease of transfer of this disease, it is very hard to prevent the spread of it.

The main symptoms of the disease are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. You are contagious before you show any of these symptoms, which makes slowing the spread of the disease hard. Since your eyes have tears to keep it moist, it can also easily attract this disease. You can catch the illness though contact with another person’s tears, or if they were to cough/sneeze in your direction. You can also contract COVID-19 by touching a surface someone has coughed/sneezed on, and then touching your eyes. The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep your hands away from your face. There is a growing recommendation that you discontinue contact lens wear at this time to help protect yourself from contracting

Coronavirus. COVID-19 may cause pink eye, but it isn’t very common. About 1-3% of people who contract coronavirus will also have redness and watering of one or both eyes. Remember, tears can carry the disease so if you have watery and red eyes, you are contagious with the disease. Be sure to keep your hands away from your face and wash them every time you use a Kleenex to dab the tears.

Your eyecare provider will most likely have new procedures when you present for your routine exam. At Insight vision, we are not seeing anyone over the age of 70 currently, unless it is for an emergency. COVID-19 has the most lethal effect on the older population, especially if they are overweight or smoke. Elective procedures should be reconsidered for a later date to reduce your possible exposure to the virus. Your eye doctor may wear a mask, and the staff may be wearing masks to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease. All clinics have also increased their level of disinfection to commonly touched surfaces.

The best way to slow the spread of this disease is social distancing. Do not go out into public spaces unless you absolutely need to. Slowing the spread of this disease will save lives and keep our healthcare system from getting overrun. If you are unsure if you should come in for your eye exam, call ahead to ask your eyecare provider if your exam can be delayed. If you believe that you have contracted the disease, call your primary care provider from your house for further instruction.

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