This article is for informational purposes only and does not diagnose any conditions
The rate at which new information surfaces about the coronavirus can be overwhelming and sometimes conflicting. These are simple, straightforward facts about COVID-19 and protecting your vision during this pandemic.
Your Ophthalmologist Wants You to Know These Six Things About the Coronavirus
Avoid touching your face and eyes
Washing your hands, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and not touching your eyes, nose and face are all very important things to be practicing. We may not even realize how often we touch our face, scratch our nose, or rub an eye. One easy way to help limit the amount we touch our eyes is to switch from contact lenses to glasses. This can help keep your eyes less irritated and makes you less likely to touch them. If you want to still wear contact lenses, make sure you wash your hands before and clean your contacts thoroughly before and after use. For more tips on how to use contact lenses safely, check out this link.
Pink eye is a symptom of COVID-19, but it’s rare
A small amount of cases (reportedly 1 to 2 percent) have show symptoms of conjunctivitis or more commonly known as, pink eye. Don’t panic if you or a family member gets pink eye, especially if none of the common coronavirus symptoms such as dry cough, fever or shortness of breath are present. It’s allergy season and pink eye tends to be very common. These are some home treatments that can be tried, but if symptoms continue or worsen, consult your doctor.
The malaria drug used to treat COVID-19 will not blind you
Patients that treat their autoimmune disease with hydroxychloroquine rarely experience eye damage. During the 5 years treatment course, only about 1 to 2 percent of patients suffered retinal problems. Patients with COVID-19 receive double the dosage, but for a much shorter duration, usually one or two weeks. If a patient is over 50 and has a family history of eye or retinal disease, they should consult their doctor before considering those drugs. Currently, there is also no concrete scientific evidence that these drugs are effective against the virus.
Call your ophthalmologist about routine eye care exams you might have coming up
Right now, most ophthalmologists are only taking emergency patients to help keep everyone safe and to help limit their use of medical supplies. If a patient receives regular eye injections to maintain their vision, they should consult their doctor to see if they should continue to get regular scheduled treatments.
Have refills of important medications
Make sure you have enough of your prescription eye drops or medication to be able to last you if you get quarantined or supplies become less accessible. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about helping you get approval from insurance companies.
Use home remedies to help with mild symptoms
Non serious eye conditions such as dry eye, red eye, and eye strain can be treated at home. Here are some remedies to try at home, however if symptoms continue or worsen, call your doctor or ophthalmologist.
As always, the best practices to help during this pandemic are to have good personal hygiene, wash your hands, and to practice social distancing. To keep up with the latest information regarding eye health and COVID-19, visit: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/coronavirus.
References Sourced from American Academy of Ophthalmology