Even if you're already wearing a face mask to cover your mouth and nose, taking steps to protect your eyes might also help guard against coronavirus infection, eye health experts say.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO):
- Don't wear contact lenses – switch to glasses. People who wear contact lenses tend to touch their eyes more than the average person.
- Glasses may add a layer of protection. They can shield your eyes from droplets that carry the virus, but they don't provide 100% security.
- If you have medicine for your eyes, stock up so you'll have enough to get by if supplies become scarce during the outbreak.
- Don't rub your eyes. If you have an urge to scratch or rub your eyes or adjust your glasses, use a tissue not your fingers. If you have to touch your eyes, wash your hands first and again afterwards.
- Remember to practise safe hygiene and physical distancing, wash your hands often, don't touch your face, cover your cough or sneeze, avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.
- Also, regularly disinfect surfaces and items in your house, especially doorknobs and countertops.
Limiting eye exposure can help, the AAO advised.
When an infected person coughs or talks, the virus can be sprayed onto your face where it can enter through your mouth, nose or eyes. You can also get infected if you touch an infected surface, then touch your eyes.
Some people get conjunctivitis – commonly known as pink eye – along with the coronavirus, and fluid in their eyes can carry the virus, the AAO said in an academy news release.
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