We’re seeing a lot of questions around contact lenses and coronavirus at the moment, so we’ve put together some answers to those queries, as well as some helpful tips and advice on wearing your contacts during this time.

Does wearing contact lenses increase my risk of getting coronavirus?

According to the College of Optometrists (the professional body for optometry in the UK), it’s perfectly safe to wear your contact lenses as normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as you’re feeling well and don’t have any of the symptoms of the disease.1

A group of leading experts have also reviewed the evidence and recommend that there isn’t currently any evidence that suggests wearing contact lenses increases the risk of contracting COVID-19.2

Should I avoid wearing contact lenses so I don’t have to touch my face?

There’s no need to stop wearing your contact lenses during this time. But it’s very important to make sure you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before you put your lenses and take them out. For all contact lens wearers, extra attention should be given to tips of fingers and thumbs which touch the lenses. You should also follow the care instructions given to you by your optician. 

As recommended with any kind of illness, virus or cold, it’s best to avoid wearing your lenses until you feel better again. We advise all contact lens wearers when ill with cold/flu/COVID-19 to cease wear until at least 24 hours after all symptoms are gone.

Should I switch to glasses for the time being?

Although glasses may provide some limited protection from respiratory droplets, there is no evidence that glasses offer protection from catching COVID-19 or other viral diseases.

Having said that, if your eyes are tired or dry and feel like they need a break, switch to your glasses. Likewise, please wear your glasses if you have run out of lenses or solution, do not re-use old lenses or find alternative ways of cleaning them – not even tap water. 

You can order replacements online which will be delivered direct to your door or by chatting to our experts in-store who are open for care.

How to safely handle contact lenses during COVID-19

Cleaning your lenses

If you have reusable lenses, clean and store them using the solutions recommended by your contact lens optician. You should not change how you clean your lenses during the COVID-19 pandemic, of course, your hands should always be scrupulously clean. If you have a problem with your solutions, phone your local Specsavers store to discuss your concerns with them.

Inserting your lenses

The best thing you can do is to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before you handle or insert your lenses - remember to pay extra attention to your thumbs and fingertips. 

Should I use an anti-bacterial hand sanitiser before I handle my lenses or is soap a better option?

Hand sanitiser typically contains alcohol which can pass from your hands onto your contact lenses, which can cause discomfort and for your eyes to become red. Washing your hands with soap and water is the safest method to use before handling your contact lenses, after washing remember to dry your hands completely before handling your contact lenses.

The World Health Organisation are advising people to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after they have been in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing. You can watch a demonstration of how this should be done here.

Should I wear surgical gloves when putting my contact lenses in and taking them out, will that make a difference?

As long as you’re washing your hands properly with soap and water and drying your hands with unused paper towels before you insert or remove your lenses, there’s no need to wear gloves. To be honest, it’s pretty tricky to handle your lenses with them on, so best to avoid it.

Storing your lenses

Advice on contact lens cases hasn’t changed – it just as important as ever. You should replace your case as per the instructions for your solution and you should continue to do this. Similarly, you should follow the instructions on cleaning the case. 

For most solutions you should empty your case of the old solution; rinse your case with fresh solution and then air-dry it upside down on a clean tissue but please check the instructions for your specific product.

Remember:

  • You should never wash or store your contact lenses or contact lens cases in tap water, only use the recommended solution.
  • Daily disposable contact lenses should never be reused or re-worn.

Advice on wearing different types of contact lenses

If I normally wear monthly lenses, should I switch to daily lenses so I’m not handling my lenses as much?

Irrespective of whether you’re wearing monthly or daily disposable lenses, they’ll still need to be inserted and removed from your eyes at least once each day. Again, proper hand washing is the key. 

You should dispose of your daily disposable lenses each evening, or regularly disinfect your monthly or two-week lenses according to the instructions you’ve received from your optician or the lens manufacturer.

If I stick with my monthlies, should I change my cleaning pot more regularly?

We already advise that you replace your case as per the instructions for your solution and we’d suggest you continue to do this. If in doubt, contact your nearest Specsavers store for advice

Making sure your contact lenses are comfortable

How do I prevent dry eyes?

Dry eye symptoms can occur when your eyes stop making tears like they normally would. Tears help to protect against infection, keep your eyes lubricated and clear debris from the surface of your eyes.

If your eyes aren’t producing tears as they should, you can develop dry eye syndrome. 
This can happen for many reasons, either one or a combination of:

  • Being in a hot or windy environment
  • Certain pre-existing medical conditions
  • Side effects of some medications
  • Hormonal changes, for example during the menopause

Some contact lens wearers are prone to dry eye – just keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Grittiness or soreness that gets worse towards the end of the day
  • Red eyes
  • Blurred vision, that improves when you blink
  • Watery or streaming tears


The best way to prevent dry eye is to keep your eyes clean; go easy on screen time; get your beauty sleep; and wear your glasses occasionally to give your eyes a break from contact lenses.   

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye you should contact your local Specsavers store, they will arrange a telephone or video review to get to the bottom of your problems and recommend ways to help reduce the symptoms. 

If you have severe symptoms of dry eye, such as an extreme sensitivity to light, permanently red and painful eyes and a deterioration in how well you can see, your Specsavers store will arrange an urgent consultation in a safe environment.

How do I prevent watery eyes?

Bizarrely, watery eyes are usually a symptom of dry eye, so even though they’re watery, you should continue to moisturise them with eye drops.

If you’re uncomfortable or are worried about your symptoms, get in touch with your store. 

Should I stop using eye drops for dry eyes to avoid touching my face?

No, keep going. If you’re already using drops for dry eye, you should continue and make sure you’re thoroughly washing your hands before putting the drops in your eyes. Reducing or stopping using these drops could lead to more eye irritation which could increase how often you, inadvertently, rub your eyes.

Everything you need to know about Coronavirus

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