Taking care of your eyes is a must in the 21st century’s one of the most feared virus-spread pandemic – COVID- 19. Although COVID-19 is a novel disease; thousands of experts around the globe are doing relentless work to understand why it spreads so quickly along with other vital questions including – how it spreads? We have yet known that touching a surface or an object that has any virus on it can act as a potential carrier also known as fomites. We also comprehend that touching own mouth, nose, and eyes can cause the virus to enter your body.
Before delving deeper into the main topic, let us first see what coronavirus is?
What is coronavirus or COVID-19?
The novel coronavirus is a type of common virus that has the potential to cause infection in your sinuses, nose, and upper throat. You might be enthralled to know that most coronaviruses aren’t dangerous at all.
In early 2020, just after the December 2019 outbreak in Wuhan province, China, hence the name COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Diseases-19) the WHO or World Health Organization identified a new type of world, i.e. the world hasn’t seen before (hence, novel coronavirus) known as SARS-CoV-2. This spread too quickly around the world as we all know quite well.
COVID-19 can start-off respiratory tract infection and it has the power to affect your upper respiratory tract, especially – nose and throat and lower respiratory tract including lungs and windpipe.
It spreads via – human-to-human contact and the droplets that are produced when a person cough or sneeze.
How can coronavirus affect your eyes?
Firstly, you must understand that yes, coronavirus does spread via your eyes so it is our utmost duty to protect our eyes at all times. When a person is infected with coronavirus; if he/she sneeze or cough in front of you chances are almost 100% that the virus will enter your body via nose or mouth while breathing. This is also the same with the eyes! If your eyes are not protected or covered, the virus can enter via our eyes.
You can also become infected by touching your eyes after touching any surfaced or fomite that has the virus on it. FYI, coronavirus can cause pink eye or conjunctivitis but chances are slim to none; but we have to be careful at all times. If somehow, you got pink eye – don’t panic! It can be cured easily.
You should call your ophthalmologist or eye specialist without any delay. They will give you proper instructions on how to take care of your eyes. Remember, whether the pink eye is caused by viruses or bacteria, some other people can also get affected if they come in contact with the watery or sticky discharge that is running from the infected person’s eyes.
Eye care during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Wear glasses at home and outside.
- Always keep your glasses clean.
- Don’t rub your eyes.
- Have critical eye care medications and supplies at home all the time.
- Contact your ophthalmologist for all upcoming appointments.
Use the following precautions if you have an appointment:
- Call the eye specialists’ office ahead of time if you have a cough or fever. If the appointment is not an emergency, you may need to stay home.
- If you need to cough or sneeze during your exam, move away from the microscope.
- If you arrive at the doctor’s office sick, it is best to wear a protective covering or mask and stay away from fellow patients at all times.
- Practice safe hygiene and social distancing:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your face, especially – nose, eyes, and mouth.
- If you cough or sneeze, cover your face with the inside of your arm or a tissue.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Try to stay at home when you are sick.
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs and countertops to stop spreading the disease.
How to protect your eyes and health?
- If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses for some time: Spectacles or glasses give you better protection from coronavirus than a regular contact lens. It is because contact lens wearers touch their eyes or face more often than spectacles wearer.
- Wearing glasses add extra protection: Corrective sunglasses and eyeglasses protect your eye by shielding them from the infected respiratory droplets. But remember one thing, they are not 100% safe and there is still a chance to get infected.
- Make an eye-approved grocery list: Buy the following food items to keep your eyes and body healthy.
- Foods with omega-3: Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna, flax seeds, and flaxseed oil.
- Foods with antioxidants: Dark chocolate, blueberries, and artichokes.
- Foods with vitamin E: Spinach, whole-grain cereal products, hazelnuts, and almonds.
- Allow your eyes to rest: Don’t strain much on your eyes. We understand that when you stay at home your eyes don’t get natural light as much as when you go outside. Also, staying at home means more usage of social media and watching videos, so always try to give rest to your eyes.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes of screen time you must look away from the screen and focus on any object that is situated 20 feet away from you for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Use blue-light-blocking spectacles: Try your best to use computer glasses or blue-light blocking glasses whenever you are using a laptop or a PC for work. You will be glad to know that using blocking-blue glasses at nighttime can help you improve and regulate the normal sleep cycles, as the brain will confuse screen light as the natural sunlight.
Use common sense to stay healthy
Common sense will help you a lot to stay away from coronavirus and maintain healthy eyes. Follow these to keep a good distance from COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently after touching any surface.
- Don’t panic
- Have face masks at your home
- Don’t travel unnecessarily
- Avoid crowded place
- Don’t listen to and spread rumors
- Always follow good hygiene rules for contact lens and spectacles wearing.
- Avoid rubbing and touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
So, now you know everything about how to take care of your eyes during coronavirus pandemic. Follow the aforementioned points to stay healthy and away from coronavirus. Take care of eyes properly and if you feel something is wrong with your eyes, don’t hesitate and reach out to your eye specialist or ophthalmologist as soon as you can.
Stay home, stay safe, and keep your eyes healthy all the time.