Experts say that covering your eyes, especially if you are a healthcare worker, is a wise move to prevent infection.
Eye protection, in addition to wearing face masks, isn’t necessary for everyone but if you are on the front lines of battling COVID-19, or are caring for someone who has the disease, you should consider wearing goggles or wraparound glasses to shield your eyes. Regular glasses or sunglasses aren’t protective as they have too many gaps.
According to CNN, Dr. Thomas Steinemann, of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said that while transmission of the virus is most likely through the nose or mouth, it’s still possible to get COVID-19 through your eyes.
Scientists at Italy’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases studied the symptoms of a 65-year-old woman who developed COVID-19 after traveling from Wuhan, China. When the patient developed an eye infection called conjunctivitis, the researchers swabbed her eye regularly and found that the virus remained present for up to 21 days.
Their study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggested the eyes could be an entryway for the virus as well as a source of infection.
According to the Independent, the study authors said: “These findings highlight the importance of control measures, such as avoiding touching the nose, mouth and eyes, and frequent hand washing.”
Some experts recommend that people who wear contact lenses switch to glasses so that they will not touch their eyes as often.
The research team also issued concern that ophthalmologists wear personal protective equipment when examining patients.
“A related implication is the appropriate use of personal protective equipment for ophthalmologists during clinical examination, because ocular mucosa may not only be a source of virus entry but also a source of contagion,” the study authors said, according to the Independent.
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