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Coronavirus/COVID-19: Crisis response

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With COVID-19 spreading across the United States, it is hard to focus on anything else. Switalski Eye Care is here to help you with your essential and urgent eye care needs.

Here is what you need to know regarding eye health concerns (per American Academy of Ophthalmology, Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization):

  • Several reports suggest the virus can cause mild conjunctivitis (i.e. pink eye) otherwise indistinguishable from other viral causes. Rest assured that while COVID-19 can cause viral conjunctivitis, this only occurs in about 1-3% of cases, so most pink eye cases are not caused by Covid-19.
  • If you have conjunctivitis and also have fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, and have recently traveled internationally, particularly to areas with known outbreaks, or have traveled to hotspots within the United States, or have family members recently back from one of these areas, you could potentially have Covid-19.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is very likely susceptible to the same alcohol- and bleach-based disinfectants that optometrists commonly use to disinfect their instruments and office furniture. To prevent transmission, the same disinfection practices already used to prevent office-based spread of other viral pathogens are recommended before and after every patient encounter.
  • Contact lens wear is safe. Despite myths and misinformation that have arisen, contact lens wear remains a safe and highly effective form of vision correction for millions of people worldwide.
  • Proper handwashing is essential. When using contact lenses or spectacles, thorough handwashing with soap and water, followed by hand drying with clean paper towels is paramount. For contact lens wearers, this should occur before every insertion and removal.
  • Discontinue lens wear only if sick. Ceasing contact lens wear when sick is advised, consistent with guidance for other types of illness.
  • You should disinfect your glasses regularly. Some viruses such as COVID-19 can remain on hard surfaces for hours to days, which can be transferred to spectacles wearers’ fingers and faces. This especially holds true for presbyopes (people generally over the age of 40), as most require reading glasses and may be putting them on and taking them off of their faces multiple times a day.
  • Glasses are not proven to offer protection. There is no scientific evidence that wearing spectacles or glasses provides protection against COVID-19 or other viral transmissions.

During this unprecedented time, the intersection of public health and optometry and our role in expanding access to care in a safe and attentive manner is more important than ever. Our priority is to support the health and safety of our patients and the extended community. With that, we will continue to assess the situation and update recommendations accordingly.