• Nitten Gokhaley

Here’s what studies say about using goggles for protection against coronavirus

Victory over the coronavirus pandemic is in sight. Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Sputnik V, AstraZeneca vaccines are being administered to healthcare workers worldwide. However, several questions remain unanswered. One of them is whether the risk of infection can be reduced by wearing contact lenses or glasses.

Studies highlighting the link

Individuals using corrective lenses were up for a surprise when the American National Ophthalmological Society urged them to switch to glasses from lenses. After a few weeks, another study suggested people who often end up touching their specks for adjusting frames can face an increased risk of coronavirus. Then came Chinese research based on specific observations that pointed out wearing glasses probably protected people from the infection.

Johns Hopkins University (Wilmer Eye Institute) professor of ophthalmology Elia Duh supported these observations. Professor Duh was also a part of the Johns Hopkins team that researched on NBC’s Joseph Fair claims suggesting he contracted the virus through his eyes. Professor concluded glasses could provide an additional protective effect.

What did Joseph Fair claim?

The National Broadcasting Company’s journalist Joseph Fair claimed he contracted the infection while traveling in a crowded flight.

The 42-year-old medical contributor claimed he wore gloves, mask, and followed regular wipes routine while on the flight. Most importantly, he did not cover his eyes. That’s how he believes he was infected.

Fair is not just NBC’s medical contributor but also a virologist by qualification. Thus, his claim was taken seriously by scientists, and details were published in a medical journal.

The case also motivated the researchers’ team from Johns Hopkins to conduct a study to understand if SARS-CoV-2 can enter cells present in the eye tissue. Scientists concluded that the COVID-19 virus could indeed enter through the eyes. So, wearing goggles along with a face mask can add to the protection layer.

Observations do make sense. Several healthcare institutions have added eye protection devices and goggles in frontline workers kits, especially for staff handling coronavirus patients. In fact, wearing a face shield or goggles was standard practice at some hospitals even before the pandemic’s arrival.

Associated questions:

Should we wear goggles to protect ourselves from catching coronavirus?

How do goggles and eye shields offer extra protection from COVID-19?

Should you wear goggles for coronavirus protection?

Can face shields or goggles be worn instead of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Can COVID-19 cause infection to the eye?