How-To: Protect Your Eyes During A Pandemic
As COVID-19 continues to change the way people live their lives from coast-to-coast, health professionals have recommended taking various precautions to protect yourself. One of the most important tips is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. But, why is this?
When it comes to viral infections, diseases, and anything contagious, the eyes can play an important role. As we recognize Healthy Vision Month during May, we wanted to share with you a few critical tips to protect the health of your eyes, both during COVID-19 and beyond!
COVID-19 and Your Eyes
The mucous membranes of the body, like those in the eyes, nose, and mouth, can be highly susceptible to infection and virus transmission. These membranes have cells whose role is absorption of materials into the body, acting as passageways to the throat and lungs.
While it’s believed that COVID-19 is mostly spread by ingesting or inhaling droplets that are projected when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, these droplets can also land on different surfaces. If you touch one of those surfaces with your hands and then touch your eyes, you may have just exposed your system to a virus, not to mention any other dirt and debris that’s on your hands.
Practice Proper Contact Lens Hygiene
Wearing contact lenses isn’t dangerous — that is, when your contacts are applied and removed correctly! Anyone who wears contact lenses should always wash their hands thoroughly before inserting and removing their lenses. However, even if you wash your hands diligently, you’re still making direct contact with your eyes more often than your friends who only wear glasses.
Limiting your contact lens wear, or even just opting to wear glasses until it’s safer to return to your contacts, will reduce your risk of infection.
Resist the Urge to Rub Your Eyes
While rubbing your eyes may relieve temporary itchiness, it can also lead to harmful side effects. Rubbing your eyes doesn’t just place you at risk for damaging your cornea, the clear, outer portion of the eye — it can also expose you to viruses and bacteria.
Rubbing your eyes with dirty hands (or even, recently washed) hands puts you at a greater risk of developing infections or transmitting pathogens. Of course, this is important to remember every day, but especially during a pandemic. If you can’t resist the urge to rub your eyes, do so with a clean cloth or tissue. You can also use eyedrops to relieve chronically itchy eyes.
Wearing Eye Protection is More Important Than Ever
Just as wearing masks can help protect your nose and mouth from exposure to infected particles, wearing glasses can help protect your eyes. While many everyday pairs of glasses and sunglasses are not designed specifically for eye protection, eyewear can act as an additional barrier between your eyes and infectious COVID-19 pathogens. In addition, wearing glasses can also keep you from touching your eyes.
Contact Eye Centers of Florida for Your Eye Care Needs
At Eye Centers of Florida, we want to be your trusted resource for all things eye care and eyewear. During these uncertain times, we are following all the recommended precautions to ensure that our patients and staff stay safe and healthy.
To make an appointment for any urgent eye care or vision needs, please call us at (239) 320-7342.