Woman puts on face mask

COVID-19 and Eye Care

The COVID-19 situation has us all asking questions.  We are here to help answer some of those questions as it relates to NVA and your eye care.

Should I continue to wear contact lenses during the pandemic?

You can, as long as you properly wash your hands particularly before inserting and removing your contact lenses. If you regularly touch your face or are sick, it is recommended to wear your eyeglasses.1 Read the American Optometric Association guidelines on proper wear and care of contact lenses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Do eyeglasses protect me from the COVID-19 virus?

There is no scientific evidence that proves eyeglasses protect against COVID-19 or other viruses.2

Is Pink Eye a symptom of COVID-19?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that follicular conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) can be a symptom of the coronavirus.3  It is not a common symptom and is typically present with other COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.  If you believe you have Pink Eye associated with other COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your primary health care provider for assistance. 

Should I get a routine eye exam now?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends postponing routine eye exams to combat further spread of the coronavirus.4

What is considered an eye care emergency?

The following circumstances can be considered eye care emergencies5:

  • Blunt force injury, foreign object, or chemical burn in your eye
  • Sudden Loss of vision
  • One eye is sticking out or bulging (not previously noted)
  • Sudden drooping eyelid
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Double vision in one or both eyes
  • Pain, redness, or sensitivity to light
  • If you suddenly see halos around lights
  • Flashes of light or increase in the number of floaters (particularly if they only move when you move your eyes) in one or both eyes
  • Redness, discharge, sensitivity, and sudden pain from wearing contact lenses
  • Different size pupils (not previously noted)

Where should I go if I have symptoms of an eye care emergency?

You should seek medical attention if you have an eye care emergency.  Go to the emergency room only if you or a medical professional believe your symptoms warrant it. Since visiting the emergency room may expose you to the coronavirus during the pandemic, it may be better to call your eye doctor or primary care physician first for advice. If you can’t access a doctor via the telephone or via a telemedicine connection and you feel you may have an eye emergency, than seek care at an emergency room or urgent care center.

The best way to protect yourself and your eyes from COVID-19 is to follow the prevention measures outlined by the CDC. 

1 & 2. https://www.aoa.org/contact-lens-wear-during-covid-19 (last accessed 4.2.2020)
3. https://www.aao.org/headline/alert-important-coronavirus-context (last accessed 4.2.2020)
4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/index.html (last accessed 4.2.2020)