See more details on Brinton Vision’s full recommendations for COVID-19 and Contact Wearers.
Transcript of the interview.
News Anchor 1:
Well among the many precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 we’re told not to touch our eyes or face.
News Anchor 2:
Yeah, that sounds pretty basic, but what are millions of people who wear contact lenses supposed to do? Today our guest is dr. Jason Brinton. He’s a board-certified ophthalmologist over in the Saint Louis area and first of all, thank you for joining us, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, making this recommendation for people to switch from contacts to glasses. Explain why
Well, Jim, there are several reasons why doctors have recommended this COVID-19 depends on human habits. We have a couple of habits. Number one, we like to get together and enjoy each other’s company. That’s why we’re recommending social distancing. Another habit that all of us have is that we like to touch our faces. Healthcare professionals use the term mucous membranes to describe your mouth, nose, and eyes. These areas are especially sensitive. So recommending that people avoid contact lens wear and preferentially wear glasses is the American Academy of ophthalmology has said is just another way of encouraging people to reduce the habit of touching their face and then hopefully also reducing virus transmission in the process.
News Anchor 1 :
But what about those who rely on the contact lenses? I mean, can you just break down a little simple way of keeping, you know, staying safe?
Sure. So many eye experts feel that if you can carefully wash your hands and avoid touching your face and eyes that can allow you to wear contacts safely. The manufacturers have come out with a statement that contacts can be worn safely if hand-washing is followed. The problem is that a study published this last April said that of the 45 million contact lens, wearers in this country, fewer than half of them follow proper handwashing precautions. So that’s half of the 45 million people who use contact lenses. The CDC took it a step further in a 2015 survey, they said that 99% of respondents said that they practice at least one risky contact lens behavior. So if someone does choose to wear contacts it’s important to thoroughly wash the hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and then drying carefully with a clean paper towel or a clean cloth is the preferred route. If it is possible to switch to glasses, that’s a fine option as well.
News Anchor 2:
Okay, so Dr. Brinton, to be clear, wearing glasses is definitely a safer option right now. Is there any downside to wearing glasses?
Well, the same precautions need to be taken with glasses and that you probably have heard the research saying that metal and plastic can hold the coronavirus for up to 48 to 72 hours. So cleaning the glasses consistent with manufacturer’s recommendations as advised, you can use simply soap and water or even just the sanitizing wipe, the Achilles’ heel. The real weakness of this coronavirus is that simple soap and water can destroy it entirely and make it ineffective at infecting people.
News Anchor 1:
Dr. Brinton, thank you so much for this information. We appreciate your time and for joining us.
You’re welcome. Have a great day.