Coronavirus: Optometrists say it’s OK to wear contact lenses


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new questions for healthcare workers every day. One common questions optometrists have been getting — is it safe to wear my contacts?

Contact lenses are mostly made of plastics. In a recent study, it was found that COVID-19 tends to live longer on plastic than other surfaces. This discovery is raising questions from patients wondering if they can catch the virus by putting in their contacts.

Dr. Frank Carusone, an optometrist at EyeXcel in Knoxville says it is still safe to wear contacts — as long as you are properly disinfecting.

“The virus can stay on a lot of different surfaces, so obviously any contact with those surfaces with either your hands or the contact lens itself needs to be treated appropriately, needs to be thought of as very serious to make sure that you are disinfecting and not exposing your eyes to that virus.” Carusone said.

Dr. Carusone also says mild eye problems don’t necessarily mean you have coronavirus.

“I’ve seen recently in the news pink eye or conjunctivitis could be an early warning sign of COVID-19 and while that may be true, that’s only in 1 to 3 percent of cases. So a lot of patients or the general public think that that is an early warning sign that my eyes are pink or red that I could potentially have coronavirus and again that’s only 1 to 3 percent of those cases.” Carusone said.

As of right now, optometry offices are only taking emergency cases and most eye surgeries such as LASIK procedures have been canceled or postponed.

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