Can wearing glasses protect against coronavirus?

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Can wearing glasses protect against coronavirus?
Can wearing glasses protect against coronavirus?

This week, information appeared on the Web that glasses can several times reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus COVID-19. This was stated by Sergey Netesov, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Bionanotechnology, Microbiology and Virology at NSU, citing research by Chinese scientists. Indeed, when researchers in China analyzed hospital data on coronavirus patients, they noticed a strange trend: very few of the patients regularly wore glasses, around 10%. Does wearing glasses really help you avoid getting infected? Or is it nothing more than a coincidence?

In one hospital in Suzhou, China, 276 patients were admitted to hospital for 47 days, but only 16 patients - less than 6% - suffered from myopia or myopia, which required them to wear glasses for more than eight hours a day. In comparison, more than 30% of people of the same age in this region wore myopia glasses in earlier studies.

Considering that the level of myopia among the general population was much higher than in the COVID ward, scientists asked the question: can wearing glasses protect a person from contracting coronavirus?

Are people wearing glasses less infected with coronavirus?

Spectacle wearing is common among Chinese people of all ages,”the study authors write. - However, after the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019, we noticed that few patients with glasses are admitted to the hospital ward.

The authors suggested that the observation could be preliminary evidence that those who wear glasses on a daily basis are less susceptible to this coronavirus. At the same time, experts say it is too early to draw conclusions from this study and recommend that people use eye protection in addition to masks to reduce the risk of infection.

How do glasses help fight coronavirus?

Perhaps the glasses act as a partial barrier to protect the eyes from the patient's saliva when coughing or sneezing, scientists say. Another explanation for the discovery could be that people who wear glasses are less likely to rub their eyes with dirty hands. A 2015 study found that students touched their eyes, nose or mouth on average about 10 times during an hour, while people with glasses never touched them.

However, it is too early to say that glasses help not to get infected with coronavirus. The study was small, involving fewer than 300 COVID-19 cases, a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of reported coronavirus cases worldwide.


In addition, wearing glasses with a mask is very difficult, because they fog up.

Another problem is that the data on myopia in the comparison group came from research conducted decades earlier.

Scientists note that another factor can distort the data, and perhaps wearing glasses is simply related to another variable that affects the risk of contracting COVID-19. For example, it may happen that people who wear glasses tend to be older, more careful and more likely to stay at home during an outbreak of a dangerous virus than those who do not wear glasses. Or perhaps people who can afford glasses are less likely to contract the virus for other reasons, such as driving and living in less populated areas.

This study really has a right to exist, given that in healthcare facilities we use eye protection, such as face shields or goggles, '' the doctors say.

Do I need to wear glasses so as not to get infected with coronavirus

Health care workers wear eye protection to protect them from patient droplets that can fly when coughing and sneezing, and particles that form when patients undergo medical procedures such as intubation. But for the vast majority of people, this extra layer of protection is probably unnecessary if the person is wearing a mask and keeping their distance in public. There is also the potential for risk from wearing glasses - some people may touch their face more when wearing glasses.


Such devices are used by doctors so as not to get infected with coronavirus. But they work at the epicenter of a pandemic.

However, more research is needed to see if the trend continues in other study groups, says Dr. Thomas Steinemann, spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

But Dr. Steinemann noted that the study shouldn't be of concern to people who don't wear glasses. Don't wear them just to protect yourself from the coronavirus. A protective mask and social distance are sufficient.

However, this may not be enough if there is poor ventilation in the room. There, the coronavirus can spread much faster.

How do you get infected with the coronavirus

The findings also raise interesting questions about how often the eyes can be the "gateway" for a virus. It has long been established that viruses and other microbes can enter the body through the mucous membranes of the face, eyes, nose and mouth. But the nose is considered the main entry point for coronavirus because it has a large number of receptors that create a friendly environment where the virus can multiply and travel through the respiratory tract.

Earlier this year, researchers reported cases of 216 children hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wuhan. Among these patients, 49 children presented with symptoms of eye diseases, including conjunctivitis and irritated mucous membranes. The patients had itchy eyes, excessive watery eyes, blurred vision, and a feeling as if something had got into the eye. So the virus can enter through the eyes, just not so often.

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