We’ve all been given advice to avoid touching our faces as much as possible to try and protect ourselves during COVID-19 – but for glasses wearers, this can be tricky.
We’ve put together some information to help answer some of your questions and advice about keeping healthy while wearing glasses during this time.
Advice on wearing your glasses
Does wearing glasses increase my risk of developing COVID-19?
No – there’s no evidence to suggest that wearing glasses increases your risk of developing COVID-19. But it’s important to stick to this advice:
- Regularly clean your glasses to make sure they don’t become contaminated. Run them under some cool water and dry them with some lint-free tissue.
- Use a glasses cleaning spray and a microfibre cloth to clean the lenses.
- Avoid scrubbing the lenses as this may scratch the coating.
And, of course, you should regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face to minimise the risk of any infection.
Can wearing glasses protect me from coronavirus?
A recent review found that eye protection alone does not prevent the transmission of COVID-191, so it’s unlikely that your glasses will offer you any protection from coronavirus.
The surface of the eye (conjunctiva) could still be susceptible to droplets from an infected person, so it’s best to continue following the two metre social distancing and regular hand washing.
I mostly wear glasses, but I sometimes use contacts for specific activities. Is it still safe to wear contacts at this time?
Absolutely – there’s no need to stop wearing your contact lenses during this time and you’re safe to carry on wearing them. It’s just important to remember the importance of hand hygiene before you put your lenses in and take them out again. So make sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before you handle your lenses.
You can find more information and some helpful tips on our advice on wearing contact lenses during coronavirus page.
Advice on cleaning your glasses
Just like washing your hands, it’s good practice to clean your glasses regularly. Here are some handy tips on how best to do this.
Will my normal glasses cleaning liquid help to protect my glasses from picking up the virus?
A glasses cleaning solution that contains a surfactant will help to remove surface microbes that may be of harm. Make sure you clean them thoroughly, not forgetting the nose pads and sides, and dry them with a clean glasses cleaning cloth.
Once your glasses are clean, keeping them that way can be tricky, especially if you take them on and off throughout the day. If you do have to place your glasses down on a surface, make sure you clean your glasses again before putting them back on.
When putting your glasses on or taking them off, it’s almost impossible to do so without touching your face. So make sure your hands are clean before doing so by washing them with soap and water. See this useful demonstration on how to wash your hands properly from the NHS.
Can I help keep my glasses virus-free by using anti-bacterial hand sanitiser on them, will that do the job?
An anti-bacterial hand sanitiser will help to remove potentially harmful surface particles from your glasses, as it would for your hands. But it’s important to avoid using hand sanitiser on the lenses of your glasses, as some of the ingredients might affect the quality of the lens surface. It’s also likely to smear or leave streaks on your lenses unless properly rinsed and dried.
As anti-bacterial sanitisers are likely to contain alcohol, make sure you avoid contact with your eyes where it can cause irritation. So if you can, use a glasses cleaning liquid or a diluted pH neutral hand wash to keep your glasses clean.
How often should I wash my glasses cleaning cloth and how should I do it?
With regular wiping, it doesn’t take long for a cleaning cloth to get a little dirty. The easiest way to keep it clean is to pop it on a 40-degree wash with your clothes – once a week should be fine, or more frequently if needed. Over time, and after a few washes, your cloth may shrink a little and won’t be as effective, so it’s best to replace it when it gets like this.
Don’t forget to keep you glasses case clean too – you can do this with a damp cloth soaked in some warm, soapy water. Then just leave it to air dry.
If I run out of glasses cleaning liquid, can I use something else?
Yes, you can. You can always wash your glasses in some warm, diluted soapy water (a pH-neutral washing up liquid is ideal). Make sure you rinse them thoroughly under running water and then dry them with a clean glasses cloth to avoid any smears or streaks on your lenses.
The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (2020). What is the efficacy of eye protection equipment compared to no eye protection equipment in preventing transmission of COVID-19-type respiratory illnesses in primary and community care? [Online]. Available at: https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/what-is-the-efficacy-of-eye-protection-equipment-compared-to-no-eye-protection-equipment-in-preventing-transmission-of-covid-19-type-respiratory-illnesses-in-primary-and-community-care/
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