A Hsinchu County ophthalmologist yesterday advised people who wear glasses to disinfect their glasses on a daily basis and avoid wearing contact lenses to prevent COVID-19 infection.
The eyes, nose and mouth have mucous membranes, said Chen Ying-shan (陳瑩山), head of China Medical University Hsinchu Hospital’s ophthalmology division.
Although mucous membranes can provide protection, they are also places where germs can enter the body, he said.
Photo: Liao Hsueh-ju, Taipei Times
Surgical masks protect the mouth and nose, but leave the eyes exposed, he added.
Children should wash their hands frequently and avoid rubbing their eyes to prevent COVID-19 infection, Chen said.
Children who wear glasses should disinfect their glasses with alcohol twice daily, he said, adding that they could also wear lightly tinted sunglasses for extra protection.
Parents whose children have developed redness in the eyes, but have no fever or upper respiratory symptoms, have been worried that their children might have contracted COVID-19, he said, adding that the parents could not tell whether the apparent conjunctivitis was caused by an allergic reaction or a bacterial infection.
Chen suggested a four-step solution for such cases: do not rub the eyes, use a clean towel as a cold compress, use eye drops if prescribed by a doctor and visit an ophthalmologist immediately.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis in children typically include itching, swelling, redness and excessive discharge, he said.
Chen also advised against wearing contact lenses, saying that although they can be washed daily, small particulate matter measuring 25 micrometers or less or viruses could stick to them.
Friction could also cause tears in the contact lenses and allow pathogens to enter, leading to infection or inflammation, he said.
Chen said that he has taken preventive measures in his office against COVID-19.
His patients are required to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering his office and he wears safety glasses over his regular glasses, he said.
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