A recent lead story in AOA First Look (Wednesday, March 11, 2020) reported that people should wear spectacles instead of contact lenses to minimize the number of times they touch their face. Obviously, this story was not well received by contact lens specialists. In fact, two days later AOA First Look published a modification of this story to indicate they had been misquoted by a consumer journal.
The truth is, contact lens wear is safe and should not impact the spread of this virus, especially if patients practice appropriate lens care and hygiene. This includes:
- Proper hand washing before every insertion and removal to include soap, water, and use of paper towels for drying.
- Cleaning lenses upon removal.
- Disinfecting lenses as recommended by the manufacturer.
For more information on the safety of contact lens wear as well as measures to take to ensure successful contact lens wear, the following two sources are recommended. (Thank you to Dr. Tom Quinn for source 2.)
In addition, the GP Lens Institute and the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association worked with a task force of leaders from the American Optometric Association Contact Lens and Cornea Section and the American Academy of Optometry Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Section on an “In-Office Disinfection of Multi-Patient Use Diagnostic Contact Lenses” laminated card, which is available now, at no charge for quantities of up to 200.
The Disinfection Card provides a flow chart showing the proper procedures for disinfecting GP, hybrid, and soft lenses.
In addition, a comprehensive paper entitled “Guidelines for Handling of Multi-Patient Contact Lenses in the Clinical Setting,” authored by this same task force, will be published in an upcoming edition of Optometry and Vision Science.
We are going to survive the coronavirus pandemic. We can’t change what has occurred in the past, but we can help create positive change as it pertains to safe contact lens wear. With proper patient education and compliance, contact lenses remain a safe, beneficial, and often preferred modality to spectacles while, in some cases, being life-changing.