As the world continues to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, focus on personal hygiene has become even more important. It is a known fact that the virus can easily transmit from one person to another if they inhale the air or come in contact with any surface which has been touched by an infected person. The respiratory droplets of an infected person in the air can easily another person’s body through nose and mouth. However, not many people are aware that this transmission can occur trough eyes as well. Ophthalmologists around the world have been advising people to follow proper eye care guidelines so that they can avoid getting infected by the coronavirus.
Though there are very few cases of people getting affected by COVID-19 conjunctivitis, nonetheless, it is advisable to take the necessary precautions and safety measures to keep yourself safe and healthy. There is a possibility that coronavirus can result in pink eye condition (conjunctivitis), but this is quite a rare condition. There have been only 1-2% of COVID-19 cases that have reported a pink eye.
If you do notice this eye condition, then you do not have to panic. Just reach out to your ophthalmologist and follow the eye care guidelines they prescribe. Though pink eye condition is usually caused due to virus and bacteria, it can spread to others if they touch the discharge from your eyes or come in contact with any surface which has been contaminated by this discharge. This is why it is recommended that one should always wash their hands and sanitize them multiple times a day. It is also best not to share your personal belongings such as towels, utensils, etc., with others.
Apart from covering your nose and mouth, you also have to take care of protecting your eyes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some preventive measures that one can follow.
- Switch to glasses from contact lenses – Though there is no proof that wearing contact lenses can increase your risk of getting infected by a coronavirus, it is better to switch to glasses as people who wear contact lenses are more prone to touching their faces.
- The extra layer of protection – Though glasses are not 100% protective, they do act as an extra layer of protection against the onslaught of potential virus. It also helps the wearer to avoid touching their eyes unnecessarily. Since it is possible for the virus to enter your eyes through the sides, bottom, or top of the glass, it is recommended that you opt for safety goggles if you are exposed to any potentially infected person.
- Eye medicine prescriptions – It is recommended that you stock up your eye medicine prescriptions so that you have enough supply during the lockdown period. You can ask your ophthalmologist to prescribe for extra supplies so that you don’t have to worry if the supply suddenly becomes limited or unavailable due to the pandemic. Also, make sure that you do not wait until the last moment to contact your eye care provider as most of them will focus only on emergency cases during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Avoid eye rubbing – Rubbing of eyes is a very common practice and a naturally inclined one. However, if you wish to reduce your risk of getting infected by a coronavirus, then it is very important for you to break this habit. In case there is a need for you to rub or touch your eyes or even glasses, it is recommended that you use a tissue rather than your fingers. Also, in case you use eye drops and have to use them on a regular basis, make sure that you first wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Once you have sued the eye drops, wash or sanitize your hands once again.
- Home Remedies – Since, all the medical practitioners including ophthalmologists are now focused on treating coronavirus patients, it can be difficult for you to consult them on a regular basis. In such cases, you can opt for certain home remedies if your eye problem is a minor one. There are many home remedies available such as using a compressor, etc. which can effectively relieve you from your problem.
If in case your eye issue is critical and you have to visit your eye doctor personally, then ensure that you follow the required safety measures such as wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, waiting in your car for your turn rather than in the common waiting room, avoiding any attenders with you, ensuring that your doctor is also wearing a mask and required protective gear, etc. Try to get in touch with your doctor only through telephone or video conference as much as possible and avoid personal appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being safe from coronavirus is all about maintaining social distance and taking complete care of yourself by following all the recommended safety guidelines and precautionary measures.