The American Association of Ophthalmology updated an alert on Tuesday, based on several reports, the corona virus may cause a mild follicular conjunctivitis and possibly transmitted by aerosol contact.
To cut your personal risk of contracting the new coronavirus, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. It is the mucous membranes (membranes that line various cavities in the body) that are most susceptible to transmission of the virus. Patients who have contracted the new coronavirus may have ocular symptoms.
This new corona virus could cause conjunctivitis, also known as Pinkeye. Viral conjunctivitis is known to present with upper respiratory infections (colds, flus, etc.) and may be a symptom of the COVID-19 virus. It develops in about 1% to 3% of people with coronavirus.
Contact wearers not only touch their eyes to put in and remove their lenses twice or more times a day. They also tend to touch their eyes and face more often than people who don’t wear contacts. A key way that viruses are spread.
Wearing your glasses may also provide a bit more protection from any corona virus particles floating in the air. According to the AAO, corrective lenses or sunglasses also can shield eyes from infected respiratory droplets. Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eyes.
Since the transmission of COVID-19 comes with so many unknowns, it is best to limit hand-to-eye contact as much as feasible. If you must wear your contacts it is 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 your eyes. Until we learn more about this virus and transmission through the eyes, play it safe.