Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Article shared from AAO – Written By: Renée Solomon, MD Comprehensive Ophthalmology

In this study, investigators examined the association between daily wearing of eyeglasses and susceptibility to COVID-19.

Study design

The authors enrolled all in-patients with COVID-19 admitted at a single coronavirus-dedicated hospital in China from January 27 to March 13, 2020. They examined the proportions of daily wearers of eyeglasses among patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and within the local population. Data on exposure history, clinical symptoms, underlying diseases, duration of wearing glasses, myopia status and the proportion of people with myopia who wore eyeglasses in Hubei province were collected. People who wore glasses for more than 8 hours a day were defined as long-term wearers. The population’s myopia rate was extracted from the Research on Chinese Student Physique and Health Study.

Outcomes

In this cohort of 276 hospitalized patients, the proportion of daily wearers of eyeglasses was lower than that of the local population (5.8% vs. 31.5%). Within the study cohort, 56.2% were male and the median age was 51 years. Individuals who wore glasses for more than 8 hours a day had myopia and included 16 of 276 patients (5.8%). The proportion of people with myopia in Hubei province, based on a previous study, was 31.5%, which was much higher than the proportion of patients with COVID-19 who had myopia in this sample.

Limitations

This study was limited by its single-center design and small sample size. The proportion of spectacle wearers in Hubei was based on data from previous literature and was not calculated from current populations. It was not determined whether the decrease in susceptibility to COVID-19 by spectacle wearers is due to less touching of the eyes or whether eyeglasses serve as a barrier to infected aerosolized droplets reaching the eyes. Finally, none of the research participants wore contact lenses, so the association between wearing contact lenses and susceptibility to COVID-19 remains to be determined.

Clinical significance

The results of this study can be used as evidence that daily wearers of eyeglasses may have lower susceptibility to COVID-19. These findings suggest that those who wear eyewear offering even greater protection (e.g., eyeshields, goggles and face shields) may be less susceptible to COVID-19.

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