Doctor: Avoid contact lenses during COVID-19 outbreak

Dr. Mehrdad E. Saadat of the Tulman Eye Group sees possible trouble ahead when it comes to the coronavirus.

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The COVID-19 outbreak has many people concerned about what to do with their hands, as people are being warned about touching their face and eyes to ward off infection. 

Saadat, the leader of the Georgia Optometric Association, says it is an awkward, if not potentially dangerous, task for people who wear contact lenses and eyeglasses

Learn more about the coronavirus outbreak in Georgia

"If there is some form of transmission (of the coronavirus) on the eye or eyelashes, that can easily be absorbed into the body," Saadat says.

He says priority number one starts with keeping your hands clean with soap and water.

"Between the nails would be very critical," explains the 15-year veteran of optometry.

Sadaat goes as far as to say to get around putting your fingers in your eyes people should avoid contact lenses. 

"For the time being, I would highly recommend patients moving to the eyeglasses department," he advises.

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So to avoid touching your face while wearing eyeglasses, the doctor says to make sure they're properly adjusted to keep them from sliding down your nose.

Still, he says if you have to use contact lenses, make sure you clean them correctly.

"Either before you put them in or take them off, scrubbing the contact lenses in the palm of your hand for five seconds with some contact lens solution," he says.

Or better yet, use daily wear contacts.

"It is very important because you can take the lens out, throw it away and not use that contact lense again and helps reduce the spread of infection."

Dr. Saadat says conjunctivitis, most commonly known as pink eye, has been found in some COVID-19 cases.  He says it could be a rare symptom. In fact, he points out Dr. Li Wenliang, the doctor known as the whistle blower -- possibly the first doctor to recognize the novel coronavirus-- was an ophthalmologist. 


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