No evidence to suggest contact lens wearers more at risk for COVID-19

There is no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers, research shows.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends contact lens wearers continue to use them safely, and experts advise that those who wear contacts and eyeglasses be particularly diligent about hygiene.

“We have very good evidence about the fact that viruses can live on your spectacles for a number of days,” Director of the Center for Ocular Research and Education at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, Dr. Lyndon Jones said.

Jones said eyeglass wearers should wash the lenses and frames regularly with soap and warm water.

“You wouldn’t want those viral particles on your spectacle lenses or frames to then be getting onto your hands, which then end up touching your face,” he said.

Jones said there is no evidence that contact lens wearers should have coronavirus concerns, as long as they practice good hygiene.

“Washing hands, making sure we always keep the case clean, replacing the case on a regular basis, using the solutions as (they are) supposed to be and also not over wearing them,” he said.

However, if you are sick, don’t wear contacts.

Regardless of what ailment you might have, Jones said you should discontinue use because an immune system that is busy fighting bugs does not need the potential added problem of your eyes being irritated.

Discontinuing use of contacts is especially important, Jones said, if you’re sick with a cough, cold or having nasal problems.

“Basically anything from the neck upward; then any of those bugs can move from your throat or from your nose onto the surface of your eye; and that’s where they might start to irritate your eye, and you don’t want the contact lenses to come into contact with those nasty bugs,” Jones said.

Once you are feeling better, Jones recommends continuing contact use with fresh, new contact lenses and lens cases.

Find evidence-based information to help contact lens wearers, eyeglass wearers and eye care professionals on the, which is run by the Centre for Ocular Research and Education website.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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