BCLA sets record straight on Covid-19 risk

The chief executive of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has reiterated that contact lenses are safe to wear during the Covid-19 pandemic.

BCLA chief executive, Luke Stevens-Burt, said: “We are concerned about the spread of ill-informed opinion regarding the subject of contact lens safety and Covid-19. I am keen to set the record straight on this and give much-needed peace of mind to the millions of contact lens wearers in the UK and around the world.

“There is simply no evidence to date that contact lenses should be avoided by healthy individuals, or that contact lens wearers are more at risk of developing Covid-19 symptoms compared to those wearing spectacles. Additionally, there is currently no evidence to suggest any correlation between the usage of contact lenses and the spread of Covid-19.

“We have produced clear guidelines for both eyecare practitioners and the general public to ensure contact lens wearers continue to follow good hygiene practices and keep themselves safe from any potential infection, as they should do at all times.”

The BLCA has issued the following advice:
• Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses and lens cases.
• Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before applying a contact lens, even if the lens is new and directly from the packaging.
• Always wash and dry your hands before removing your contact lenses.

The BCLA has also produced two dedicated fact sheets detailing advice for the wearing of contact lenses during the Covid-19 outbreak. They can be downloaded here.

Jonathon Bench, BCLA president, added: “Healthy contact lens care should always be practised but is now of extra importance with the challenges posed by Covid-19. To help maintain healthy contact lens wear, all contact lens wearers should follow correct wear and care instructions, as prescribed by their eyecare professional.

“This will, of course, include following good hygiene practices and advice to avoid lens wear if the contact lens wearer is feeling unwell, in particular with any cold or flu-like symptoms. Patients are advised to seek guidance from their eye care professional if in doubt or if they have any queries.”