Travel Tips Just for Your EyesMarch 6, 2020
July 4th 2020 Closed NoticeJuly 1, 2020
Coronavirus Can Spread Through The Eyes
Now that we have your attention let’s get serious about eye protection. STOP SLEEPING IN YOUR CONTACTS. It’s warm out, the kids are home playing, you’re worried about other people coughing. Now eyes? Simple precautions can help you worry less. Limiting eye exposure can help. Here’s why:
- When a sick person coughs or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face. You’re most likely to inhale these droplets through your mouth or nose, but they can also enter through your eyes.
- People who have coronavirus can also spread the illness through their tears. Touching tears or a surface where tears have landed can be another portal to infection.
- You can also become infected by touching something that has the virus on it — like a table or doorknob — and then touching your eyes.
Coronavirus may cause pink eye — but it’s rare. Even though it may be rare it’s even more important to see the eye care professionals. Pink eye is a sign of a compromised immune system. Many types of pink eye can be treated with drops. But an exam is necessary to determine the type you have.
“Okay but what else can we do?” Glad you asked.
“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. So wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes,” says ophthalmologist Sonal Tuli, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses for a while. Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye,” Dr. Tuli advises. Glasses 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.
- Don’t skip your eye exam. If you’re due for an eye exam, you may be nervous about going to the doctor’s office. Rest assured that ophthalmologists, like all medical professionals, follow strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines. If you have a cough or a fever, it’s essential to call your doctor’s office ahead of time and let them know. If your visit is not an emergency, they may ask you to stay home.
If you arrive sick, your doctor may ask you to wear a protective covering or mask, and to wait in a special room so that you won’t expose other patients. If you anticipate a cough or sneeze during your exam, move back from the personnel and cover your face with a tissue. Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can.
- 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. Ask your pharmacist or ophthalmologist for help if you have trouble getting approval from your insurance company. And as always, request a refill as soon as you’re due. Don’t wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.
- 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.
And don't forget ...
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers general guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus and protecting your health:
- 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.
- Edit home when you are sick.
- Regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items in your house, such as doorknobs and counter tops.
Last but not least, ease up on the toilet paper. There are those like the elderly & disabled who have a more difficult time getting their essentials.