Don’t touch your eyes? What to do if you wear contact lenses.
Are you a contact lens wearer?
Now’s the time to stop or limit use of contacts and switch back to glasses for a while - to be safe - says a Wills Eye Physician.
35 year-old Josh Kruger of South Philadelphia had been working long hours, averaging about 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night because he is one of many workers deemed “essential.” Kruger lost all track of time and realized he had been sleeping in his contact lenses for several days. “Suddenly, I was experiencing the most excruciating pain in my life,” he said. I had developed a serious eye infection and needed to see a doctor,” he said. He first went to urgent care but then decided to go to Wills Eye to determine what was wrong.
“He developed a corneal ulcer from the contact lens rubbing against his eye for way too long. He was in a lot of pain and could have severely damaged his vision. We cultured his infection, treated him with intensive around the clock antibiotic eye drops, told him to stop wearing his contacts and use his glasses for now,” said Christopher J. Rapuano, Chief of the Cornea Service at Wills who examined and treated him. “Today, he’s doing much better.” Kruger is one of several Rapuano has heard from who are calling to find out what to do. Wear them or not wear them?
“Some patients think keeping their contact lenses in longer might be safer to reduce the amount of times you touch your eyes. It’s just the contrary,” he says. “When you wear contact lenses, you should be removing them every day. But right now, it’s smarter to limit any chance of introducing additional bacteria or viruses into the eye when you put in or take out contact lenses,” he added. The less often you touch your eyes, the better, said Rapuano.
“Thank you to the team at Wills Eye who, amid an incredibly stressful and frankly frightening global event, stayed and manned their posts, first in the Emergency Department and then in the Wills Eye Cornea Clinic. Because of their expertise and dedication to medicine, I’ll likely keep my vision and my eye,” tweeted Kruger.
Other helpful recommendations:
- Wearing glasses can provide additional helpful protection against trauma to the eye, something flying in your eye and of course touching your eyes/face in general.
- Also – it may sound obvious, but don’t share eye drops, make up, towels or any other common household items.
- We are also in allergy season with an increasing volume of red, itchy eyes expected. If you have red, itchy eyes and it’s not accompanied by basic COVID symptoms of fever, dry cough or body aches and it’s just itchy red eyes, then the problem is most likely limited to allergies. In that case, call your eye doctor and consider trying over the counter anti-allergy medications to help. These days, it’s best to avoid going to an urgent care clinic, emergency room or hospital for certain problems that can be instead managed with a phone conversation, Facetime or a telemedicine call with your healthcare provider.
To interview Dr. Rapuano or any Wills Eye physician, please contact the Media Relations Department of Wills Eye Hospital. email@example.com