27 March 2020

Safety of contact lens use in contracting COVID-19

There have been several media reports relating to the safety of contact lens use in contracting COVID-19. The College of Optometrists has issued the below statement: 

“Please continue to use your contact lenses as normal if you do not have COVID-19 or any of the associated symptoms (fever and/or a new and continuous cough and/or loss of, or change in taste or smell (anosmia)). Practise good contact lens hygiene; as always, thoroughly handwashing before and after handling and inserting lenses is essential. 

“We have seen no evidence to suggest that that wearing contacts lenses would increase your chances of contracting the illness.  
“If you are ill, we recommended you stop wearing contact lenses until you are better again, this applies to all illnesses, including the common cold, flu and COVID-19.
“The only difference that wearers may wish to consider is if you are in the same household as a person with symptoms of COVID19. In this situation, you may wish to cease contact lenses wear until everyone in the house is well.”

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, Clinical Adviser, College of Optometrists. 

Updated: 19 May 2020

This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

For the very last issue of Optometry in Practice, Professor Jonathan Jackson MCOptom reflects on the past two decades of the journal and its contribution to our learning.

This article describes sleep and its regulation, and the specific contribution of the eye.

This paper describes how viruses infect, reproduce and damage cells. Knowing this process is critical for understanding how to treat ocular viral infections.