Coronavirus: preventive measures concerning the eyes

Coronavirus: preventive measures concerning the eyes

Contact of Sars-CoV-2 with the eyes, as well as with the mouth and nose, can promote infection, so they should be well protected. The American Academy of Ophthalmology issues recommendations in this regard, particularly for contact lens wearers.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus at the origin of the covid-19 epidemic does not circulate on its own, it is humans who participate in its transmission and that is why barrier gestures must be applied every day. : cough or sneeze into your elbow, use single-use tissues, greet without shaking hands, avoid hugs and, above all, wash your hands very regularly. This measure makes it possible to kill the virus if it is present on them and thus to avoid being contaminated by touching the face, the nose and the mouth being considered as real "entrance doors" of the viruses in the body. This is also the case for the eyes, hence the importance of adopting a few simple reflexes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has just published an eye safety fact sheet that explains why it is important to protect your eyes properly during the covid-19 pandemic, and the best ways to do so. “Coronavirus can be spread through the eyes. Limiting eye exposure can help protect against it,” the organization explains.

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The risk of conjunctivitis cannot be ruled out

It is also possible to become infected by touching an object or surface where the virus is resting, such as a table or a doorknob, and then touching your eyes. Its experts also confirm numerous studies conducted recently on the fact that the virus can, among its symptoms considered less "classic", cause conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inside eyelids) although this is not a common symptom. "Health officials estimate that conjunctivitis develops in about 1% to 3% of people with coronavirus," they add.

“It is important to remember that although there is much concern about the coronavirus, common sense precautions can significantly reduce the risk of infection. So, wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes,” says Sonal Tuli, spokesperson for the American Academy. of Ophthalmology.

To reduce the risk of contamination as much as possible, it recommends in particular that wearers of contact lenses favor their glasses for a certain period of time. The reason is simple: they touch their eyes more often than someone who doesn't.

The benefits of wearing glasses

“Consider wearing glasses more often, especially if you tend to touch your eyes often while wearing contact lenses. Replacing them with goggles can reduce irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye,” she explains.

People who continue to wear contact lenses are invited to follow hygiene advice very rigorously to limit the risk of infection (handle them with clean, dry hands, apply make-up after fitting them, clean them immediately after having removed them, place them in a lens case cleaned with the conservation liquid and changed with each new bottle...).

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Wearing glasses would also bring the advantage of adding a layer of protection: the glasses can protect the eyes from infected respiratory droplets. But the association makes it clear that they “do not offer 100% security. The virus can still reach your eyes from the sides, top, and bottom of your glasses. If you're caring for a sick patient or someone potentially exposed, safety glasses can provide a stronger defense. Finally, it is important to be careful not to rub your eyes even though it can be difficult to break this natural habit. If the urge is too strong, then a handkerchief should be used instead of fingers.

“Dry eyes can lead to irritation, consider adding moisturizing drops to your eye routine. If you must touch them for any reason, even to administer medication, wash your hands before and after for at least 20 seconds,” she concludes.

In France, the National Union of Ophthalmologists invites those concerned to respect these hygiene rules and recalls that the wearing of lenses must be suspended during ENT infections (colds, angina, pharyngitis) due to the proximity of microbial agents. or viral. “The same is true in the event of an attack on the coronavirus, in fact covid-19 can be present in the conjunctiva. “, he concludes.

Read alsoAuthor: Alexandra Bresson Published on

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