How to Sanitise your Eyewear in the COVID-19 Era

How to Sanitise your Eyewear in the COVID-19 Era

Guest post by Jeff Herman, chief editor of AllAboutVision.com

Your new hand-washing habit can help you to keep your glasses and contact lenses free of viruses and germs in this coronavirus pandemic … but don’t even think of reaching for a sanitizing wipe to clean your glasses.

There is a right way and a wrong way to disinfect your spectacles. Soap and water are good, sanitizing wipes (which are still hard to find on store shelves) are bad.

How to care for your contact lenses now? It’s really no different than before (but more on that later).

How to keep your glasses germ- and virus-free

Health officials around the world advise not touching your face to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus to your eyes, nose and mouth. Another way to lower your odds of contracting coronavirus is to keep your specs spotless.

What’s the best way to wash your glasses? We asked optometrist Chui Wen Juan, of C C Chui Optical in Singapore, for the do’s and don’ts for ridding your glasses of contagions — as well as everyday dirt, grime and sweat.

“The safest way to clean spectacles is to use soap and water,” Chui says. “Thorough washing eliminates pathogens — bacteria, virus, fungi — and also body fluids such as perspiration, saliva, sebum (skin oil) that can harbour or encourage growth of pathogens.”

“Most hand soaps and liquid non-abrasive detergents can be used, along with cool — not cold — or tepid — not hot — water,” she adds.  

‘’The added advantage of using soap and water to wash the spectacles is that the hands are also being cleaned at the same time,” Chui says. “In fact, if your hands are dirty or greasy, you should wash them before cleaning your spectacles.”

glasses, reading, eyeglasses

And the don’ts?

“Avoid bath gels or soap with lanolin and sorbolene, as these will leave a film over the spectacles’ lenses,” Chui says.

“Avoid abrasive cleaners — those for polishing ovens and stoves — or acetone-type cleaners — nail polish remover, for example — as these will damage coatings on the lenses or the paintwork of the frames,” she adds.

For the same reasons, sanitizing or disinfecting wipes should never be used to clean your glasses.

“Sanitizing wipes often contain alcohol, which may be damaging to certain types of plastics in spectacle lenses or frames,” Chui says. “Sanitizing wipes may also contain emollients to keep the skin moisturised, but will leave a film on the spectacle lenses.”

Be gentle when washing and drying your glasses

One difference between your hand-washing and glasses-washing habits: Wash your hands thoroughly and with vigor but be gentle when washing your spectacles. The last thing you want is to break your lenses and have trouble getting a repair because your optical shop is closed.

Take it easy when drying your glasses too.

“Use the microfibre cloth — which is usually provided with your spectacles — to gently dry your spectacles,” Chui says. “Most spectacle lenses will come with water-repellent coatings, so you’ll find that very little water actually remains on the lenses, so there is no need to rub it aggressively.”

And how often should you clean your glasses? 

“An easy rule of thumb to remember is to wash your spectacles as often as you would wash your face,” “After all, would one put dirty spectacles on a cleaned face?”

Chui Wen Juan, Optometrist, C C Chui Optical

“Perhaps it might be most helpful and convenient to wash the spectacles in the morning, to start the day with clean and clear spectacles.”

Two more tips to lower your odds of transmitting coronavirus from your glasses to your face, eyes, nose or mouth:

“Make sure your spectacles are well-fitted,” Chui says. “If they are loose or uncomfortable, the wearer will have a tendency to touch them more often, which means spectacles get dirtier more quickly and there is also a risk of infection when touching the face with contaminated hands and fingers.”

“Remember also to wash the microfibre cloth for spectacles about once a week (more if heavily used),” she adds. “Simply use soap and water, and avoid fabric softeners.”

How to take care of your contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses, how can you ensure you’re doing all the right things in the lens-cleaning process to cut your COVID-19 risk?

“The first golden rule of wearing contact lenses has always been — even pre-COVID-19 — to wash and dry hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses,” Chui says.

“There are many types of cleaners and disinfectants for contact lenses,” she says. “Most of the commercially available ones have been tested to FDA standards, but must be used correctly to have maximum efficacy.”  

Your contact lens practitioner will advise you on how to care for your contact lenses, as certain disinfecting products may be more compatible with certain types of soft contact lenses.

“Last but not least, contact lens practitioners have always advised wearers not to wear contact lenses when unwell — for example, if you have the cold or flu — or if your eyes are sore,” Chui says. “Even though contact lenses did not cause the primary problem (colds and flu), it may exacerbate the symptoms of sore eyes (that occasionally accompanies respiratory illnesses).”

Reusing contaminated contact lenses and lens cases may delay recovery of the illness or cause a reinfection, she adds. If contact lenses were being used just before an episode of illness, it is best to discard those used lenses and lens cases and start fresh following recovery.

Why you should be extra mindful of your eyewear now

“As many places face lockdown and operating restrictions, it is all the more important to keep your eyewear safe, because it may be inconvenient to get repairs or replacements done,” Chui says.

“It is always safer to keep spectacles in the case when not in use, to mitigate accidental mishandling by young children, pets or the family member who unwittingly sat on your spectacles,” she adds. “Avoid placing spectacles, even for a brief moment, on chairs, beds, sofas, the floor — anywhere spectacles are least expected to be.”  

“In doing all these, not only will you save yourself unnecessary inconvenience, but you’ll also extend the life of your eyewear … and save your wallet.”

All About Vision, based in the United States, now has websites in Spanish, French, Portuguese and Hindi serving readers in Latin America, Canada, Brazil, India and the United Kingdom. In May, All About Vision launched a website for Australia.

Chui Wen Juan, is a second-generation optometrist from C C Chui Optical with 17 years experience. She trained and practised in Australia before returning to her family’s practice in Singapore. C C Chui Optical is now serving the 3rd generation of clients since its establishment in 1976.

Caring for your eyes in COVID-19

Caring for your eyes in COVID-19

What first comes to mind when you think about your eyes in this extraordinary time of extended lockdowns and working or studying from home?

Blurred vision? Eye Fatigue? Dry eyes? Headaches? 

You may be suffering from digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

While it is close work, rather than screen use per se that strains our eyes, Dr Maturi, the clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a retina specialist, said that looking at bright devices can make us blink less, which leaves our eyes feeling dry. “When things are bright, we blink less. It’s behavioral. So we can train ourselves to blink more often and blink fully,” he said.

What can we do about it? Here are some tips:

1) 20-20-20 breaks: When engaging in near work activities (i.e., reading books or using digital devices), encourage regular breaks or use the 20-20-20 rule, i.e., look 20 feet (6 metres) away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.  Remember to stretch your arms, neck and legs during this break too! 

2) Optimal reading distance: Are you too close to the screen? A recommended viewing distance for your mobile phone, laptop and desktop is 40, 50 and 70cm respectively. 

For kids, the Harmon distance is recommended where they should be sitting away from their reading object between their elbow upright and 3rd knuckle (~25cm).

3) Lighting: You need to ensure the environment in which you are using the screen is brightly lit, but not so glaring (e.g. with the sun shining on you) such that you can barely see the screen.  Use warm light for less glare.

4) Appropriate eyewear: Our eyes are not made for prolonged viewing at close distance.  You can consider different types of eyewear to improve vision comfort.  For example, blue light blocking glasses can reduce glare and reflection and block out the most harmful spectrum of blue light, to about 60% in the day and 30% at night , so you can experience visual comfort from day to night.  There are also special computer glasses with a power boost at the bottom of the lenses to relax your eyes with extended digital device and near vision usage. 

Get your glasses here.

5) Adequate nutrition: We are what we eat. Food that are rich in antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, or support anti-inflammation such as omega3 and essential fatty acids are critical for good eye health. Think salmon, eggs, avocado, berries and leafy greens. Supplements are available for those who would benefit from additional boost: Vitamins For Dry Eyes, Vitamins for retina


Sources:

3 Tips for Dry Eyes

3 Tips for Dry Eyes

Why is blinking so important?

Every time you blink, you restore tear film across the surface of your eye. Light needs to pass through your eye smoothly. If your tear film is broken up, your vision is not clear. Tear film also acts as a barrier, protects your cornea and provides nutrition for the underlying structure.

Why do you experience dry eyes when using the screen for long?

When you’re concentrated on near work, you blink less. The average blink rate is 8-21 blinks per minute. Studies show that individuals blink approximately 60 percent less when using a computer.

This decrease in blink rate may be a result of serious concentration on the task at hand, or a relatively limited range of eye movement.  

When you blink less, your tear film is replenished less frequently and evaporates more quickly, causing ocular discomfort such as blurred vision, dry eyes, light sensitivity, watery eyes or a stinging sensation.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eyes. However, you can still manage its symptoms. Here are 3 tips to avoid dry eyes or relieve your dry eyes:

 Tip 1: Adjusting your environment

Whether you are working in the comfort of your own home or clocking in hours at the office, the lack of moisture in your surrounding environment can cause irritation to the eyes as its surface starts to dry out. Having a humidifier near your workspace would be a great asset as it adds moisture to the air, thus providing better air quality and keeping your eyes hydrated!

Also, while using your computer or electronic gadgets, remember to adjust the brightness of your computer screen to match the light intensity of your surrounding environment to reduce eye strain.  

Tip 2: Applying Eye Drops and Using Eyelid Wipes

Artificial tears, also known as eye drops, help in maintaining eye surface moisture by providing lubrication to the eye.

Did you know that there are two different types of eye drops? 

  1. Preservative-free
    These eye drops come in single-use vials and can only be used within 24 hours of opening it.

SYSTANE® ULTRA UNIT DOSE Lubricant Eye Drops

SYSTANE® ULTRA Lubricant Eye Drops are clinically proven to deliver extended protection and high-performance dry eye symptom relief that lasts. 

  • Designed to provide fast and long-lasting relief with an intelligent delivery system. It provides minimal blurring and immediate comfort.
  • Systane Ultra is contact lens compatible.
  • Preservative free option for sensitive eyes.

2. Regular use

Unlike preservative-free eye drops, regular use eye drops have preservatives added to them in order to extend their shelf life.  

SYSTANE® ULTRA Lubricant Eye Drops

Similar to Systane Ultra Unit Dose, Systane Ultra is designed to provide fast and long lasting relief with intelligent delivery system. It provides minimal blurring and immediate comfort.

  • Systane Ultra is contact lens compatible.
  • Can be kept for 6 months after opening. Making it more cost-effective.

SYSTANE® COMPLETE Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Designed with nanodroplet technology to work on all layers of the tear film. Only product that contain both lipid and aqueous components in the same solution (oil in water solution).
  • Ideal first line recommendation since it works on all dry eye types.
  • For consumers looking for first time eye drop and for consumers who are looking for a better upgrade.
  • Other than applying eye drops, using eyelid wipes also help to relieve dry eyes, as these wipes help to cleanse the eyelids and lashes and support their natural eye lubricating functions.  

SYSTANE® Lid Wipes

  • Hypoallergenic, pre-moistened.
  • Gently removes oily residues and cleanses.
  • For daily lid hygiene and to wipe infectious or oily eye lids.
  • Also removes make-up.

Tip: Bring some eye drops and eyelid wipes with you while on the go. You’ll never know when you need them!

Tip 3: Eye Vitamins

If you wish to rely less on eye drops, eye vitamins are a good and natural replacement to keep your eyes healthy too. 

Lagad Lacrima® 

Protects against sensation of dry eyes. For dry eye sufferers who want to reduce reliance on eye drops. 
Contains vitamins, zinc, borage oil, omega 3 and alpha lipoic acid to improve the nutrition of the cornea and maintain a comfortable tear film.

If you are still experiencing severe visual discomfort after taking steps to adjust your environment and enhance your diet, we suggest you take a comprehensive eye exam to do a thorough check of your eyes and rule out any serious conditions that could potentially lead to blindness.  

See the recommended frequency of eye exams here:

Comprehensive Eye Exam: why it is important and what to expect

Comprehensive Eye Exam: why it is important and what to expect

Why is it important to have a comprehensive eye exam regularly?

Keeping an eye on your vision requires different care and attention at different stages of life. Even when we are young, we should do a comprehensive eye check-up regularly as eye problems can be present at any age. 

Did you know some eye diseases such as glaucoma have no symptoms? Having a regular eye check-up gives you the best chance to diagnose any underlying eye diseases. Your eye doctor can also help to evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your general well-being.

What is the difference between a vision screening and an eye exam?

Vision screenings are basic eye tests to help recognize any issues with your vision, but it does not test for any underlying eye diseases. Usually, it checks for basic refractive errors such as myopia, astigmatism, and hyperopia.

A comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist involves a thorough examination of all aspects of your vision. Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose visual health issues and ocular conditions that are otherwise unable to be determined by vision screening.

What to expect from a comprehensive eye exam?

History Taking

Your eye care professional will ask for your background and health history as existing medical conditions may increase the potential risk of developing certain eye diseases.

Visual Acuity Test

This is a test to measure how well you can see in different distances by asking you whether you can see numbers and letters of varying sizes using an eye chart.

Refraction

This is a test to measure your type and degree of refractive error to determine your exact eyeglasses prescription.

Eye Pressure Test

Usually done with a tonometer, this test measures your eye pressure that checks for glaucoma: an eye condition that can cause vision loss due to built-up eye pressure damaging the eye’s optic nerve.

Check the front of your eyes: Slit Lamp Test

The front part of your eyes will be examined under high magnification to detect any abnormalities such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Check the back of your eyes: Retinal Imaging / Fundus Examination

A high resolution, wide-angle picture of your retina will be captured to detect any abnormalities such as retinal detachment in the back part of your eyes

Assessment and Management

After the eye exam, your eye care professional will advise you on the test results and steps needed if abnormalities are detected.

A comprehensive eye exam may involve more tests depending on your ocular conditions but these are the most common and will help cover a wide spectrum of eye diseases.

Babies (Age 6 months onwards)

Ensure that your child’s eyes are screened during regular pediatric appointments and they are free from common childhood eye conditions and diseases.

Children and Teenagers (Age 3 to 19)

Ensure that your child has a thorough eye check every 1-2 years during routine health check-ups or when getting fitted for corrective eyewear, such as for myopia.

Young Adults (Age 20 to 39)

Have a comprehensive eye examination if you have a family history of eye disease or if you are suffering from an eye injury.

Adults and Seniors (Age 40 onwards)

Eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration are more likely to occur as we grow older. To monitor vision changes, you should get a baseline eye disease screening when you are 40 and ask the doctor to assess how often you need to return for follow-up screenings.

For Anyone with Risk Factors

If you have a risk factor for eye disease (Diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of eye disease), you should see your eye doctor annually. Ask your eye doctor for the ideal interval between check-ups.

Source: healthprofessionals.gov.sg

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