What to Tell Contact Lens Wearers During
The Coronavirus Pandemic
Due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, “wash your hands; don’t touch your face,” is being communicated in thousands of languages across the world. It could be argued that a handful of these communications also include, “Should I still wear my contact lenses during the coronavirus pandemic?” After all, touching one’s face and, more specifically, one’s eyes, is part of the contact lens insertion and removal process.
Jennifer Kirby, senior editor
Jennifer Kirby, senior editor
So, how should optometrists answer this question? By saying “yes,” but with some crucial caveats, reports the American Optometric Association and the Centre for Contact Lens Research & Education.
• Employ “proper” handwashing. Specifically, before every insertion and removal of contact lenses, wearers should wash their hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels.
• Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. The coronavirus, among other viruses, can enter through the eyes.
• Practice disinfection/disposal. Wearers should regularly disinfect their two-week and monthly lenses, as per the manufacturer’s and the O.D.’s instructions.
• Cease wear, if ill. “It is generally a good idea to let your body heal without distractions,” notes Jason Miller, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., and “Contact Lenses” columnist for Optometric Management. When wearing glasses while being sick, wearers should disinfect them, as the coronavirus can live on hard surfaces from hours to days. This means COVID-19 can be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face.
In taking all this information, Dr. Miller, who has heard from a few of his contact lens-wearing patients, recommends the following patient script:
“Contact lenses are safe. You can continue to wear contact lenses during this outbreak, but make sure to follow a few guidelines: Always wash your hands prior to handling contact lenses; daily disposable lenses are best, but if you are in a reusable lens, be careful to change your lenses, as prescribed, and follow proper cleaning and disinfection habits.”
For those optometrists who are super busy trying to manage the business-sides of their practices during this time, Dr. Miller suggests creating practice FB and Instagram posts that answer the contact lens question.
“Communication is key through all of this,” he says.
- The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) is offering online remote teaching resources during the COVID-19 outbreak to all educators. The IACLE Case Reports series and Contact Lens Course (ICLC) modules are now available in the “Free Resources” section of their website, www.iacle.org
- In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE), a program under the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, has released temporary rules for CE providers: Effective March 7 to May 31, 2020, CE providers will be allowed to present their activities online and still qualify for COPE credit. For more information, see https://www.arbo.org/COPE_temporary_rules_modification.3.16.2020.pdf.
- ABB Optical Group is launching COVID-19 resources in support of U.S. eye care professionals. It will continue to maintain a distribution center, call center and lab operations, as well as implement safety actions for employees and customers. ABB will offer a two-box minimum for free shipping, a free patient outreach toolkit, the Virtual Trade Show (March 23 to March 27, 2020) and it’s ABB Analyze Lite practice performance program at no cost. Beginning April 1, ABB will be including a contact lens cleaning safety insert in all direct-to-patient orders placed.
- Avelino announced production shifts for its new coronavirus diagnostic test, Avelino SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Test (AvelinoCoV2). The AvelinoCoV2 is an ultra-rapid genetic test designed to detect coronavirus in patients who are asymptomatic, the company says. Production is being expanded to meet the growing demand by health systems, public health services and first responders, the company says.
- CooperVision has announced their 2020 Best Practiceshonorees. The program is in its fifth year and highlights optometric practices that have advanced the profession through innovation, leadership and excellent patient experience. The 10 honorees were selected after a nationwide search. They are:
- Advanced Eyecare – Durango, Colo.
- Advanced Family Eye Care – Denver, NC
- Associates in Eyecare, Optometrists – Ashburn, Va.
- Better Vision Optometric Center, P.A. – Fayetteville, NC
- Draisin Vision Group – Charleston, SC
- Eye Center of Houston – Houston
- Kapperman, White and McGarvey Vision Source – Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Miamisburg Vision Care – Miamisburg, Ohio
- Phoenix Eye Care – Phoenix, Ariz.
- Valencia Eyecare Optometry – Palmdale, Calif.
- Harrow Health and its wholly-owned subsidiary ImprimisRx announced an agreement with Doxy.me, a telemedicine software company. Doxy.me will provide all ImprimisRx optometric, ophthalmic and wellness practices with its Clinictelemedicine solution at no charge. The solution provides a user-friendly, HIPAA-compliant platform usable on a computer, tablet or mobile phone.
- MacuLearn.com is an online learning resource that allows optometrists and eye care technicians to complete certified training regarding the importance of nutrition to eye health at their desk or by using a mobile device. The site is the result of a partnership between Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland and Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry and it is the brainchild of Prof. John Nolan, Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, School of Health Science, Waterford Institute of Technology and Dr. James Stringham, Visual Performance Laboratory, Duke University School of Medicine. The www.maculearn.com site is now live and will be updated with further learning modules through the rest of 2020 and beyond. For more information, contact Brian Nolan, Bance Nolan Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org; +353868191730.
- Visioneering Technologies, Inc.(VTI), a U.S.-based medical device company, has received a Medical Device License from Health Canada. The license allows VTI to market and sell its products within Canada and covers the use of VTI’s NaturalVue Multifocal contact lenses.
- Eschenbach Optik is introducing the New VarioLED+ Lamp Magnifier. The VarioLED+ features a 132 mm aspherical lens, adjustable LED illumination, push-button operation and a rotating lamp head with six adjustable point. It is available in 1.9x and 2.5x powers and provides uniform brightness via 84 high-performance LEDs. A table clamp allows the VarioLED+ to be easily mounted, the company says.