Proper eye care is always important… but these days, it’s especially critical.
First off, experts suggest that COVID-19 can spread through contact with your eyes, making it more important to protect them than ever.
To make matters more difficult, most optometrists have closed for non-essential appointments. It’s become very hard to get a routine eye exam – let alone update your prescription glasses or get advice.
There are two important reasons for these closures:
1. It limits the number of interactions between patients and doctors, reducing the spread of COVID-19.
2. It keeps important medical supplies available to those who need them for emergency services.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should forget about your eyes entirely. Whether you need to update your prescription or just want to take good care of your peepers, here are 6 tips to keep your eyes healthy and seeing clearly:
1. Practice safe hygiene and social distancing.
Currently, experts recommend maintaining at least 6 feet distance between yourself and those around you and maintaining personal hygiene, such as handwashing.
When it comes to eye health, washing your hands regularly is the best thing you can do. Be sure to lather with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing thoroughly. It may be obvious by now, but this can’t be stressed enough. Proper hygiene is the first step to protecting your eyes!
2. If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses for a while – but keep them clean!
Experts say that wearing glasses may add a layer of protection from COVID-19. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release little “droplets” containing the virus. If these droplets come into contact with your eyes, you could become infected.
While safety goggles or medical masks are the best option, even regular prescription glasses give you significant protection – but be sure to keep them clean! The virus can live on surfaces for long periods of time, so regularly cleaning your glasses is essential.
For this, we highly recommend Peeps – it’s a powerful carbon-based cleaning tool that uses the same technology NASA trusts on their space missions. Peeps are trusted by more than 200,000 optometrists worldwide!
3. Stock up on eye medicine prescriptions.
While your medicine won’t run out any time soon, it’s still best to avoid as many interactions as possible. That’s why experts suggest stocking up on your essential medications now to limit your total number of visits to the pharmacy.
Note: In some cases, you may even be able to call in your prescriptions without having to visit the office!
4. Update your prescription from home using a device like EyeQue.
Because appointments are being rescheduled, and we should stay home as much as possible, it’s best to avoid the optometrist for routine appointments – like updating your prescription or getting an eye exam.
Of course, you should still be checking up on your eyes – and thankfully, we now have modern technology to help us with this!
Dr. John Serri, a PhD graduate from MIT, recently released a device that allows you to take a perfectly accurate eye exam from the comfort of your own home. It’s called EyeQue, and it’s incredibly easy to use – if you have a smartphone, you’re good to go!
Not only does EyeQue help you keep your prescription glasses up to date, you can also save the results and give them to your optometrist on your next visit. And even after the current situation ends, you can keep on using EyeQue for years to come to save money on routine appointments!
5. Avoid rubbing your eyes.
The virus can live for long periods of time on doorknobs, clothes and other surfaces. That’s why it’s essential to avoid touching your eyes, especially if you’ve been outside for a while. If you come into contact with the virus, it could survive on your hands for a while – then enter your eyes when you rub them minutes (or even hours) later.
This is another good reason to wear your glasses – they serve as a helpful reminder to avoid touching the area!
6. Watch out for symptoms of pink eye.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found “conjunctival congestion” (or red, infected eyes) in 9 of 1,099 Chinese patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have COVID-19.
Of course, don’t panic if you see someone with pink eye – it’s only present in a small number of cases. However, if you are prone to issues related to pink eye, you may want to be extra careful at this time.
If you notice any symptoms, such as excessive dryness or one eye turning red, contact your eye doctor right away.
So, how about you? Are you taking any extra measures to protect your eyes? Let us know in the comments below!