The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major shift in the US healthcare system. Hospitals in the US are overwhelmed by the Coronavirus, and there are now more than 1 million positive cases across the country.
To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised that all healthcare facilities and clinics prioritize urgent or emergency procedures and visits for now. The CDC also urged facilities to:
- Delay all elective ambulatory provider visits
- Delay all elective surgeries and procedures
- Reschedule non-urgent admissions
- Postpone routine dental and eye care visits
This affects the entirety of the US healthcare system including the eye care sector.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, the American Optometric Association (AOA) released an updated statement on March 24, 2020, advising eye care professionals to postpone all routine eye care visits.
As of now, all eye care clinics in the US are closed until further notice. That being said, eye care professionals are still making an effort to care for their patients. Many have already started seeing their patients through virtual visits via video conferencing.
Eye care during the COVID-19 pandemic
Virtual eye care visits not only prevent COVID-19 from spreading, but it also helps you practice eye care even in these troubling times. Here are other simple yet effective ways you can take care of your eyes while avoiding getting infected by COVID-19.
- Wash your hands.
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water on a regular basis. This is especially important if you wear contact lenses since your fingers often come in contact with your eyes. If you wear contact lenses, make sure you dry your hands completely before putting in your contact lenses or taking them out.
You should also avoid applying oil-based products, lotions, or moisturizers to your hands prior to putting in your contact lenses. Residue from these products can remain in your hands and then easily transfer to your lenses, which may cause vision problems and eye pain.
Washing your hands goes way beyond eye care, though. It prevents the spread of germs and bacteria and therefore, prevents the spread of COVID-19.
- Take eye exams online.
Eye care websites and contact lens e-commerce sites are also doing their part for the eye care sector. A number of websites are now offering online vision tests. These tests are safe, accurate, and reviewed by actual eye care professionals. If necessary, you get a valid prescription after the vision test.
With online vision tests, you can get your eyes checked, renew your prescription, and purchase contact lenses or eyeglasses—all without leaving the safety of your home and putting yourself at risk.
- Contact lens safety is a must.
Make sure you are cleaning and storing your contact lenses properly and practicing strict contact lens safety. Here are a few things you need to remember.
- Follow the cleaning instructions given to you by your eye doctor.
- Only use the contact lens solution prescribed to you.
- Fill your contact lens holder with a fresh solution before storing your contact lenses.
- Two-week disposable contact lenses are not meant to be worn for three weeks. Dispose of your contact lenses immediately once their recommended wearing schedule has lapsed.
- Only sleep in contact lenses that are FDA-approved for extended wear and on the advice of your eye care professional
- Carry an up-to-date pair of prescription glasses with you at all times. This way, you can switch to wearing them should an issue with your contact lenses arise at any point.
- Never use tap water or your own saliva to clean your contact lenses. Doing so puts you at a high risk of contracting an eye infection.
- Choose the right makeup
Women know how challenging it can be to wear makeup while also wearing contact lenses. But, it doesn’t have to be. You can make it a lot easier on yourself by choosing the right makeup.
Look for makeup that’s hypoallergenic and tested safe for contact lens wearers or people with sensitive skin.
Here’s how you can pick the best possible makeup.
- Eyeliner – Look for pencil eyeliners instead of cream or gel eyeliners, which can flake and get into your eyes when they dry.
- Eye shadow – Choose cream eyeshadow instead of one in powder form since powder has a higher chance of getting in your eyes. However, make sure it’s a water-based cream eyeshadow and not an oil-based one.
- Mascara – Use oil-free and fragrance-free mascara. Do not use waterproof mascara when wearing contact lenses. As its name implies, you can’t rinse waterproof mascara out with water. It can stain your contact lenses and irritate your eyes.
For a pain-free experience and hassle-free time when wearing both makeup and contact lenses, keep the following in mind.
- Make it a point to read makeup labels thoroughly.
- Put in your contact lenses before you apply makeup and remove your contact lenses before you remove your makeup.
- Avoid using false eyelashes when wearing contact lenses. The glue on false eyelashes can stick to your contact lenses.
- Use water-based, oil-free, and fragrance-free makeup removers.
The indefinite closure of eye care clinics doesn’t mean you have to forget about your eye health. Things like virtual eye care visits and online vision tests still enable you to prioritize your eye health.
By following the tips outlined in this post and making certain lifestyle changes during this quarantine, you can avoid any problems not just with your eyes, but with your overall health as well.