The news is changing very fast these days, and so are the questions I get as an Eye Doctor. Many patients — especially those who wear contact lenses — are very concerned about the conflict between their need to wear their contacts with the new health advisories to not touch their face. So I’ve put together these quick facts about Coronavirus and Eye Care. I will be adding to this page as things change or as I receive your questions.
Read This First
Before you read the questions and answers below, the most important advice I can give you is to get your medical facts from authoritative sources. Start with the CDC’s website, which is always an excellent source of Coronavirus information. The National Institutes of Health has information about Coronavirus as well. Also, trust your own doctors, especially with advice about their specialties, such as Pediatricians, Rheumatologists, Cardiologists, Ob/Gynecologists, Dentists, and so on.
And be very careful about scammers. There are already criminals sending out fake emails and robocalls with false information about Coronavirus, including false preventative measures and cures. You can also expect to receive calls by people and businesses pretending to be with the government offering you cash and benefits in exchange for your name and Social Security Number. Be careful, and don’t fall for it.
Can I Still Wear Contact Lenses?
This is one of the most common questions about Coronavirus and Eye Care. Your contact lenses were prescribed to you for a reason, and wearing them should continue to be safe and healthy for you so long as you continue to be vigilant about how you use them. That said, if you can easily switch to glasses, consider doing that for the time being. Not only will you touch your eyes less frequently, but the glasses can provide some protection for your eyes.
That said, if you choose to continue to wear your contact lenses, please follow this advice:
- Avoid touching your face and eyes during the day.
- Be sure that all of your contact lens accessories (cases, cleaners, solutions, etc) are clean. Use soap and water.
- Make sure your work area is clean, also by using alcohol and wipes.
- Before inserting or removing your contact lenses, wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with warm water and soap. That means:
- Warm the water
- Wet your hands
- Soap your hands and scrub them for 20 seconds without running water over them
- Rinse and rub your hands under the water until the soap is gone
- Dry your hands with a lint-free paper towel or clean cloths.
- Touch nothing else but your lenses and your contact lens case, cleaners and solutions until you are done.
- Then follow your regular instructions for inserting or removing your lenses.
Should I Keep My Eye Doctor Appointment?
Our Office Is Closed For Routine Exams And Non-Emergency Issues
Due to mandates from both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles, our office is currently closed to routine eye exams and non-emergency issues. We are open for Ocular Emergencies Only, which include such issues as infections, eye injuries and extreme eye pain.
If You Have An Ocular Emergency
We are on-call for Ocular Emergencies by appointment only. During this critical time, here is how we can help you get the treatment you need.
- Call our office at 818-891-6711 and describe your issue. If necessary, leave a detailed message.
- If your issue is one that we can help with remotely, then we will set up an appointment with you to meet with us on the phone or by using Zoom (Visit www.zoom.us, or the iPhone App Store or Google Play Store) or some other video conferencing technology.
- If we need to see you in person, please call us at 818-891-6711 once you are in the parking lot. We are doing our best to maintain Social Distancing, and are seeing one patient in the office at a time. We will call you back once it is your turn to enter the office.
- Once you enter the office, please use the hand sanitizer at the front desk and follow the instructions given to you by our receptionist.
Who Should Come To The Appointment With You?
Please leave friends and non-essential family members at home. Of course, parents should accompany minor children to their appointments, and caregivers should accompany those who need them. But generally speaking, please come alone or bring as few people as necessary with you.
Is It Safe To Visit The Office?
If your issue is urgent and we ask you to come to the office, rest assured that we regularly disinfect our office and our instruments with very effective disinfectants. And according to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AAOA), “The virus that causes COVID-19 is very likely susceptible to the same alcohol- and bleach-based disinfectants that (Optometrists and) Ophthalmologists commonly use to disinfect ophthalmic instruments and office furniture.”
If You Are Feeling Ill…
If you are feeling generally ill, malaise, have a head cold, fever, nausea, or respiratory issues, please do not visit our office. Instead, call your family doctor and get treated for those symptoms. Then call us to reschedule your appointment with us. Our goal is that you be fully healthy, and that you not spread what you have to others.
If You Need To Pick Up Your New Glasses…
If your appointment is to pick up your new glasses or contact lenses, we can ship them to you at no charge. Just call our office at 818-891-6711.
All Other Appointments…
If your appointment is not urgent and can wait, then please call us to reschedule your appointment for a later time. If you are not sure whether you should reschedule or not, call our office at 818-891-6711 and let’s discuss your issue.
Can I Get Coronavirus in my Eye?
Coronavirus enters the body through mucous membranes, which are found in the genital areas, mouth, nose, and eyes. If someone with Coronavirus coughs and the mucous droplets enter your body, they will most likely have entered through your mouth or nose. However, they can also enter through your eyes.
Also, if your hands came in contact with the Coronavirus, and you touched your eyes before thoroughly washing your hands, then it is possible the virus can enter your body through your eyes.
According to AAOA, no matter how a patient contracts Coronavirus, between 1% and 3% may develop conjunctivitis, or pink-eye. But having pink-eye does not mean you have Coronavirus. Pink-eye can be caused by a number of different viruses, Coronavirus being among the least likely.
Can I Take Eye Drops and Still Avoid Coronavirus?
If you take precautions similar to those mentioned above regarding contact lenses, you can safely use your eye drops without increased risk of contracting Coronavirus. Specifically,
- Avoid touching your face and eyes during the day.
- Be sure that your eye dropper bottle is clean. You can use rubbing alcohol or Lysol (or similar) disinfecting wipes.
- Before applying your eye drops, wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
- Also, avoid touching any part of the eye dropper to your face or eyes.
Call Us With Questions
The news on Coronavirus is changing very fast, including news about Coronavirus and Eye Care, and we want you to have all the information you need to keep yourself healthy. If you have questions you do not see answered here, please contact us online, post a question to our Facebook page, or call our office at 818-891-6711.