This may be the understatement of the year, but worldwide pandemics have a way of making people really nervous. The problem with this kind of anxiety and uncertainty is that it results in a lot of false information spreading around and that only makes people more nervous.
So we wanted to make sure that our vision and LASIK patients in Utah have accurate information about their eye care during COVID-19. The two topics most people seem concerned about are LASIK eye surgery and contact lens precautions. Let’s take a look at some of the concerns people have, get the facts straight, and talk about why this might be the best time to get LASIK in Utah.
3 Common Questions About Contact Lenses During COVID-19
There are lots of questions people have about their eye health during COVID-19, but we’re going to touch on 3 of the biggest ones about contact lenses. These are some of the top concerns we’ve come across, so let’s give you some clear answers.
1. Can I Contract COVID-19 From My Contact Lenses?
There have been no recorded cases of COVID-19 being transmitted by using contact lenses. If you are caring for your contact lenses properly, there should be no concern about contracting COVID-19 from your contact lenses alone.
However, even though the contact lenses themselves are not inherently a risk for COVID-19, using contact lenses could make you susceptible to the virus because of the need to touch your face more frequently.
2. Am I More Likely to Contract COVID-19 When I Use My Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses alone will not transmit COVID-19 to your eyes, however, we do know that eyes can be susceptible to the virus. If you contract the virus because of exposure to your eyes, it is most likely because your hands were not properly cleaned before you touched your face or eyes. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before inserting or removing contact lenses from your eyes.
The thing that makes contact users more susceptible to COVID-19 is that they are more likely to touch their faces often. Contact users touch their eyes to insert or remove contact lenses, but they also might rub or itch their eyes when their contacts irritate their eyes. They may also touch their faces if their contacts make their eyes water.
It’s frustrating, but using contact lenses does often necessitate touching your face more often than you would otherwise. If this makes you nervous, you may want to switch to glasses for the time being. However, good eye and contact lens hygiene should keep you safe.
3. What Are Best Practices for Wearing Contact Lenses During COVID-19?
The most important thing you can do during COVID-19 is to continue to give your contacts proper care. Our best tips are to keep great contact lens hygiene. If you use daily disposable contact lenses, make sure you throw them away every night. Don’t sleep or shower with contact lenses in your eyes because doing so can cause eye damage. And make sure you sanitize your contacts often and correctly. Most importantly, make sure your hands are clean before you touch your contacts or eyes.
If your contact lenses frequently irritate your eyes, you may want to switch to glasses or have LASIK during this pandemic. Doing so should help you limit how much you touch your face, especially your eyes. Another option is to use blue light blockers if you find yourself dealing with frequent digital eye strain. Blue light blockers should help ease the dry eye or eye exhaustion that comes from digital eye strain and should help prevent the need to touch your face as well.
The AOA also recommends that, if you do contract COVID-19, you should stop wearing your contact lenses. Again, this should limit how much you touch your face, which should help limit the transmission of the virus from your eyes to other surfaces.
These best hygiene practices should keep you safe from contact with the virus to your eyes. Like most CDC and AOA guidelines, these are simple measures that, when observed, will help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe during this precarious time.
LASIK vs. Contact Lenses During COVID-19
Though contact lenses alone aren’t high risk during the pandemic, they do bring an increased risk of infection if proper handwashing and contact hygiene aren’t observed. One way to limit this risk is by switching to glasses, but another is to have LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK in Utah is a safe option at this time. Given the situation with the pandemic, it is important that your Utah LASIK provider observe increased health safety measures, but if you and your doctor are doing your part to observe safety measures, you should be fine to receive LASIK at this time. Additionally, you’ll find that post-surgery, you won’t need to touch your eyes or face as much as you do with contact lenses, and you won’t need to deal with the annoyance of glasses either.
Of course, there are risks to surgery, especially at this time, so let’s look at the benefits and risks of LASIK surgery in Utah during COVID-19.
Risks of LASIK During COVID-19
Every surgery has its risks, and during a pandemic, those risks may be higher. LASIK is a relatively low-risk surgery, and with constantly improving technology, that risk diminishes more. The main risks of LASIK surgery are dry eyes post-surgery (though eye drops are often prescribed to help with this as the eyes heal), over- or under-corrections, incorrect flap healing, and issues like halos or glares.
Most of these risks are mitigated when you have a well-experienced LASIK surgeon performing the surgery. However, with the pandemic, there are other risks involved.
The American Academy of Opthalmology suggests that the risk of conferring COVID-19 during LASIK is likely low and that the mechanics of the surgery itself make the risk of infection even less likely. Of course, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is always higher when you are around other people, but following the CDC’s recommendations of wearing a mask, washing your hands, etc., will help keep you safe. The surgeon and staff should all be following these guidelines for optimal safety before, during, and after surgery.
You may also see other health safety measures to prevent the risk of the virus spreading, such as extra sanitizing, face shields, and more. The extent of the measures will vary depending on where you go for LASIK in Utah.
Benefits of LASIK During COVID-19
The benefits of LASIK are as valuable during a pandemic as they are otherwise. One of the best benefits right now is that you’ll be able to see better than you ever have without the need to touch your face, worry about contact hygiene, or adjust to wearing glasses 24/7. It’s convenient, it keeps your eyes safe, and you’ll have the vision you need.
LASIK is a low-risk procedure at the best of times; right now, that’s still true. Compared to other eye surgeries, it’s actually one of the safest to perform during this pandemic. LASIK is a quick surgery to perform, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time with the surgeon or staff during the surgery.
Overall, if you get LASIK in Utah right now, you’ll be in an even more sterile and safe environment than ever before, but you’ll have the same great results that come from LASIK surgery whether there’s a pandemic or not.
In other words, LASIK will give you vision as good or better than your contact lenses give you, and you will likely be safer from the virus in the long run post-LASIK than you are with contact lenses now and in the future.
Looking for LASIK in Utah?
If you’re concerned about using your contact lenses during a pandemic, it’s time to look into LASIK in Utah. In the long-run, you’ll find that your eyes are safer and healthier without the need to touch your eyes so often.
Dr. Davis has performed literally thousands of laser eye surgeries in Utah, so you know you’re receiving the best surgery performance and the highest-quality care available. Davis Vision Center is taking precautions to make sure your experience is not only top-notch but safe as well. Contact us today at (801) 253-3080 to ask about our COVID-19 precautions and to schedule your LASIK eye surgery.