The current coronavirus crisis has taught us many lessons, especially in terms of personal hygiene and the precautions that we now need to take before stepping out of our homes.
One very important safety measure that we will have to follow will be covering our mouth and nose by wearing a mask when we move out of the safety of our homes. Equally, important will be to protect our eyes by wearing eyeglasses. This could include prescription glasses (if you have refractive error), plain eyeglasses (without any power) or specially designed protective goggles and sunglasses to prevent aerosols (particles present in air) from entering into your eyes. Unlike eyewear, most of the face masks are disposable or reusable (can be washed easily), and hence they are a lesser source of infection. But as there is no option for disposable or daily wear glasses, we generally continue to wear them again and again. Thus, it is important to take necessary precautions to ensure that they don’t become carriers of infection and keep them disinfected. Any lapse can put us at risk of infection as the virus can enter our body through our eyes.
Research shows that viruses like Corona can stay as long as 9 days on eyeglasses. Hence, it becomes imperative to clean our eyeglasses as frequently as possible, just like we keep our hands clean.
Precautions to be taken:
· Always try to protect your eyes with eyeglasses before stepping out of your home
· Don’t touch eyeglasses frequently (other than to take them off)
· Ensure that eyeglasses are perfectly adjusted to your face before wearing to avoid unnecessary adjustments by hand
· When taking off your glasses, use both hands to remove them from your face. Hold the glasses by the temples instead of the rims around the lenses
How to keep your glasses disinfected and prevent them from transmitting virus into your eyes:
· Disinfect your glasses each time before wearing them
· If at home, you can use light dishwasher soap to clean eyeglasses under running water
· Wipe with microfiber cloth immediately after wash to avoid smudges and scratches
· When going out, carry hydrogen peroxide solution 0.5% (can be made with H202 available in pharmacies in 3% & 3.6% by adding water to make 0.5% concentration) to disinfect eyeglasses; use a microfiber clean cloth to clean the eyeglasses by spraying H202 on it
· You can also use the branded lens sprays and wipes available at optical stores to keep the lenses and frames disinfected
What should not be done to sanitize eyeglasses?
· Do not sanitize eyeglasses with alcohol-based regular sanitizers used for sanitizing hands; repeated use of this can damage the frame as well as the lenses
· Do not use ammonia, bleaches and high content of acids like lemon juice and vinegar to clean your glasses; this can spoil the lens coating and frame material
Dr Akshay Badakere
L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad.
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