Coronavirus: eyes and contact lenses

Thursday 12 March 2020 by Vision Direct

Graphic of people wearing surgical masks

Empty supermarket shelves, a global hand gel shortage, constant breaking news stories: coronavirus, or COVID-19, is everywhere. As the medical world still gets to grips with the illness, studying its symptoms and causes, we still don't have concrete information on how it's spread. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, affecting your lungs and airways. It belongs to the same family of viruses like the common cold or the flu, with similar symptoms of a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. Judging by its high transmission speed, coronavirus is believed to spread via cough or sneeze droplets. These droplets end up on our hands, and can then end up infecting us with the virus.

How to protect your eyes from coronavirus

Your eyes could play a really important role in the spread and prevention of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK for a simple reason: you touch them a lot, often without realising. And this is especially true if you wear contact lenses - now's the time to be extra vigilant about your contact lens routine!

Not many people know this, but your eyes and nose are also susceptible to bacteria and infections the same way your mouth is. This is expected to be the reason behind the Peking University physician Wang Guangfa getting infected, despite wearing a protective covering on his mouth. It is believed that Wang either touched his eyes or had some infected droplets land into his eyes.

Infected droplets could land on your hands, mouths, eyes or nose and possibly end up being inhaled into the lungs. They also may end up on a surface that you touch, before touching your face. Having good hygiene and washing your hands regularly and thoroughly both lowers your risk of getting COVID-19, and limits its transmission to others.

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How to cut your risk of contracting coronavirus

Before we go through protective measures, we have to note that the most important one is to not panic. It's hard not to feel anxious when every day brings more news stories on the widespread effect of the virus, but it's imperative to keep your cool and stick to the facts.

Coronavirus prevention tips

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after coughing and sneezing, before and after applying your contact lenses, before preparing or eating food or after coming in contact with pets.
  • Our opticians recommend switching to daily disposable contact lenses, as an extra precaution for lens wearers. They are more hygienic and way easier to maintain, reducing the risk of transmission.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then dispose of it right away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, contact lens case or solution bottle if your hands aren't washed.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, as even if they don't have the coronavirus, they could still pass on a cold that lowers your immune system. Same goes for you: if you're sick with a cold, stay at home.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects you touch often, such as doorknobs and stationary.
Young woman and child washing hands

20-second choruses to wash your hands to

Washing your hands is one thing, but washing them for long enough is really important for the prevention of coronavirus. Studies show that the number of microbes on your hands reduces substantially if you wash them for longer, with experts saying that 20 seconds is the optimum time - or about the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.

But it doesn't look like coronavirus is going anywhere any time soon, and you can only sing the Birthday song enough times before it starts getting to you. So here are 8 way catchier 20-second choruses to sing while you scrub:

Beyonce - Love on top
"Baby it's you / you're the one I love / you're the one I need / you're the only one I see / come on baby it's you / you're the one that gives your all / you're the one I can always call / when I need to make everything stop / finally you put my love on top"

Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
"Feel the rain on your skin / no one else can feel it for you / only you can let it in / no one else, no one else / can speak the words on your lips / drench yourself in words unspoken / live your life with arms wide open / today is where your book begins / the rest is still unwritten"

Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
"Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon / you come and go, you come and go / loving would be easy if your colours were like my dreams / red, gold and green, red, gold and green"

Kylie Minogue - Can't get you out of my head
"La la la, la la la la la"...you know the rest!

Fleetwood Mac - Landslide
"Well, I've been afraid of changin' / 'cause I've built my life around you / but time makes you bolder / even children get older / and I'm gettin' older too"

Dolly Parton - Jolene
"Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / I'm begging of you please don't take my man / Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / please don't take him just because you can"

Mambo nr 5 - Lou Bega
"A little bit of Monica in my life / a little bit of Erica by my side / a little bit of Rita is all I need / a little bit of Tina is what I see / a little bit of Sandra in the sun / a little bit of Mary all night long / a little bit of Jessica, here I am / a little bit of you makes me your man"

Belinda Carlisle - Heaven on Earth
"Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? / ooh, heaven is a place on earth / they say in heaven love comes first / we'll make heaven a place on Earth / ooh, heaven is a place on earth"

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