When leaving home, don’t forget your mask . . . and your glasses. People who wear glasses, say researchers in India, are up to three times less likely to get COVID-19.
Glasses, of course, increase the degree of difficulty in touching your eyes, an entry point for the virus. People who wear glasses, say the researchers, reduce their risk of infection because they rub their eyes less frequently.
The study, published by medRxiv — it was not peer-reviewed — developed a questionnaire for 304 people at a northern India hospital last summer who reported COVID symptoms. Of the 304 patients, 223 male and 81 female between ages 10 and 80, 19 percent said they wore glasses. The researchers said the patients, on average per hour, touched their face 23 times and their eyes three times.
“Touching and rubbing of the eyes with contaminated hands may be a significant route of infection,” the study said.
Your mask already covers two other virus entry points, the nose and mouth. But touching a contaminated surface, then touching your face isn’t the most common way people get infected with COVID-19.
“This way of becoming infected is much less efficient than via respiratory droplets,” said Dr. Virginia Bieluch, Chief of Infectious Diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. “The most common way SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) spreads is from person to person, usually when people are closer than six feet from one another. When the infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breaths, the virus can be found in droplets that spread from person to person in settings of close contact.”
But even in that scenario, a mask and maybe even your glasses can help protect you. Try not to touch your face. And wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
“Good hand hygiene,” said Dr. Bieluch, “can protect you from COVID-19 as well as from other infections that could be spread more readily by contact with contaminated surfaces.”