Glasses wearers protected more from COVID-19

Since February 2020, we have been dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19), a highly infectious disease that erupted in Wuhan, China and now has spread to more than 200 countries. 

 Many have concerns linked to this epidemic, and it has, in very small time changed our perspective on life and the way we live.  

The virus is known to be transmitted by contact with secretions released from the mouth or nose of an infected person. People who are in close contact (less than 1 meter) with the infected person can become infected if the droplets enter the eyes, nose or mouth.  

To avoid contact with these droplets, it is important to stay at least 1 meter away from others, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief when sneezing or coughing.  

Due to its high infectivity rate, to ensure that our health is safeguarded, many guidelines has been established by the government. Protection and prevention in public spaces are one of the determining factors in the spreading of the virus. Which is why measures such wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing are now considered indispensable for personal and collective health protection. 

However, little or no importance is given to eye protection, which as a recent study done in September 2020 have shown, have a considerable correlation with the transmission of the virus. 

According to the study done by the JAMA Ophthalmology Zeng et al in Hubei Province in China, where a group of 276 patients were admitted to a hospital with a laboratory confirmed COVID-19, the proportion of the patients infected, who reported wearing glasses more than 8 hours per day, was lower than that of the general population (5.8% vs 31.5%). The results of the study gave evidence that daily wearers of eyeglasses were less likely to be infected with COVID-19. 

From the data collected, the authors of the study hypothesized that the determining factor for this assumption is that eyeglasses prevent or discourage wearers from touching their eyes, thus avoiding transferring the virus from the hands to the eyes. Studies have also shown that normal people will touch their eyes about 10 times per hour. 

Since eyes usually lack protection, and an abundance of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor has been found on the ocular surface, the virus can enter easily the human body. SARS-CoV-2 may also be transported to the nasal and nasopharyngeal mucosa through continuous tear irrigation of the lacrimal duct, causing respiratory infection. 

According to the available statistics found by the researchers, nearly 1% to 12% of patients with COVID-19 have had ocular manifestations. SARS-CoV-2 was detected in tears or the conjunctival sacs of patients with COVID-19, and some ophthalmologists were reported to be infected during routine treatment; leading to the conclusion that the eyes can be considered an important channel for SARS-CoV-2 to enter the human body. For daily wearers of eyeglasses, who usually wear eyeglasses also on social occasions, wearing eyewear may become a protective factor; reducing the risk of virus transfer to the eyes and having as a consequence long-term daily wearers of eyeglasses being rarely infected with COVID-19. 

 Presently, many COVID-19 guidelines state the need to pay attention to preventing infections through the eyes, but most people only focus on wearing masks and home isolation, ignoring recommendations such as washing hands frequently and avoiding touching their eyes with their hands.  

The study finally highlights that the proportion of inpatients with COVID-19 who wear eyeglasses for extended daily periods was lower than that of the general population, suggesting that daily wear of eyeglasses is associated with less susceptibility to COVID-19 infection.  


These new findings imply that the eye may be an important infection route for COVID-19, and more attention should be paid to preventive measures such as frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the eyes and where possible wearing protective eyewear. 

Therefore, following the results of this recent research, it is really best advised to incorporate protective eyewear glasses in your daily routine. Although we understand that is already annoying having to wear masks and washing hands frequently, on the other hand these small precautions can make a big impact on your health and that of your loved ones, in these difficult times. 

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