Our eyes are a unique organ in our body. Even though we may not think about the health of our eyes on a daily basis, we use them constantly. You may start to pay attention to your eyes if you have allergies, if an eyelash gets caught, or if the sun is particularly bright while you’re driving. But it’s easy to forget about the importance of maintaining eye health.
In today’s environment, when we’re heading into flu season, and, unfortunately, Colorado Springs is still being affected by COVID-19, understanding how to care for your eyes is more important than ever. And you may be wondering if COVID-19 can be contracted through the eyes, how to prevent that from happening, and what else you can do to protect your eyes and overall health from viruses.
Can You Contract COVID-19 Through the Eyes?
Yes, coronavirus can spread through the eyes, just like the nose or mouth. If someone coughs or sneezes, the particles are released into the air and can be breathed in through the nose or mouth. The droplets can also enter the body through the eyes, whether this is when they land on your eyes or if you touch a surface that is contaminated and then you touch your eyes.
It may also be possible for coronavirus to cause conjunctivitis, an infection known as pink eye. This is extremely rare, however. If you are experiencing symptoms of pink eye, such as redness, itching, or a discharge that turns into a crust overnight, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.
When and How to Safely Visit Your Eye Doctor During the Pandemic
It’s recommended that everyone practice social distancing, but if you are facing an eye emergency, if you’re experiencing vision problems, or if you need an update to your prescription contacts of lenses, don’t hesitate to call an optometrist. There are precautions that your eye clinic will follow to ensure that staff and patients are as safe as possible.
When you arrive for an appointment, the staff at the clinic may ask you some questions about your health, including if you have a fever, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches, fatigue, or if you have come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. They may also take your temperature to ensure that you don’t currently have a fever.
During your appointment, the clinic may also follow additional safety precautions. If you need to cough or sneeze during your appointment, cover your face with a tissue or the crook of your arm. Then, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water.
How to Protect Your Eyes From Viruses
Properly caring for your eyes during a pandemic is similar to how you would normally, with some additional points.
- Switch to Glasses: If you currently use contact lenses, consider switching to glasses. This will reduce the number of times you have to touch your eyes in order to put the contact in or take them out. This can also reduce eye irritation and be a reminder of not to touch your eyes. When you are wearing contact lenses, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching your eyes.
- Stock up on Eye Medication: If you use prescription eye medication, such as eye drops, ask your eye doctor to give you an additional supply so that you don’t run out. Be sure to refill the prescription well before you run out.
- Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: While it’s hard to avoid needing to itch or rub your eyes, it’s important to remember to use a tissue rather than just your fingers. And try to wash or sanitize your hands before and after touching your eyes.
General Eye Care Tips
There are three ways to care for your eyes that will offer the most long-term protection: drink a lot of water, eat a balanced diet, and wear quality sunglasses.
- Water: Our body and eyes need moisture in order to function properly, so staying hydrated is incredibly important to eye health.
- Diet: Certain foods are great for eye health, such as nuts, dark, leafy greens, salmon, eggs, and broccoli.
- Sunglasses: The sun’s UV rays can be very harmful to our vision over time. By wearing a pair of quality polarized sunglasses, you can reduce the risk of certain age-related eye conditions.
The team at Spectrum Eye Care is committed to providing our patients with the best possible eye care, including eye exams, contact lenses and glasses, pediatric eye care, and more. During this pandemic, we are doing everything we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to keep everyone safe and healthy. If you are coming in for an appointment, we ask that you bear with us while we follow the recommended guidelines to keep everyone safe.
If you have any questions about your eyes, don’t hesitate to contact us.