Eye Health And COVID-19

Woman wearing glasses and holding a coffee mug while looking at the camera

Many Americans are taking a closer look at their personal hygiene habits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and this might just change our behavior for the better once daily life gets back to normal. In today’s blog post, we’re bringing you some important eye care tips that overlap with current guidelines for maintaining your health and wellness during these difficult times.

Rochester Optical is taking strict precautions to continue serving patients while protecting our staff and community from the spread of COVID-19. This includes altering store hours, reinforcing deep-cleaning processes, promoting social distancing of our staff through interior rearrangement, and implementing plenty of hand-washing and wearing protective gear during appointments. We strongly recommend and greatly appreciate that patients arrive at their appointments wearing a mask and having washed their hands.

Eye Care Tips Under Stay-At-Home Orders

Tip 1: Wash Your Hands and Don’t Touch Your Eyes (or Face)

If you have the habit of touching your face, rubbing your eyes, or anything of the sort, now is the time to break it! This is especially crucial if you’re an essential worker in a public business. If you’re working from home, you may have slipped into this habit while in the comfort of your own office, living room, or kitchen table, where the presence of your coworkers cannot influence your behavior. Without a deskmate or other professional peer nearby, it’s easy to scratch, pick, or otherwise mess with your face more than you might usually with another pair of eyes on you.

The reason that not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth is so important is that these areas provide a direct pathway into the body. This is great for many purposes, such as eating food for nutrients or taking medications to treat illnesses, but not so great for keeping out viruses. If you touch a surface that is contaminated with the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19 and then mindlessly pick your lip, rub your eye, or scratch the opening of your nostril, you may be hand-delivering the virus right into your body.

Tip 2: Wear Sunglasses While Outside

Perhaps the positive side of the coronavirus pandemic is that people are able to get outside much more than usual. If you’ve had the time to do so, be sure to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Sun damage is cumulative, meaning that the more exposure you receive, the more damage will be done. Even on cloudy days, sunglasses are necessary!
A common condition that occurs from excessive sun exposure to the eyes is a pinguecula, a white or yellow bump that appears on the conjunctiva (the clear covering over the cornea, or the white part of the eye). If you still don’t wear protective gear like sunglasses and a hat after a pinguecula develops, more sun exposure can cause the pinguecula to grow and ultimately become a more obvious condition called a pterygium. This condition can extend into the cornea and lead to vision loss or distortion, so it’s important to ramp up your UV eye protection, especially if you notice a pinguecula.

Tip 3: Protect Your Eyes From Screens

Stay-at-home orders have led to more changes for some than others, especially when it comes to using more technology. If you’re working from home or attending school online, you’re probably spending more time using screens. This can affect your eye health through a condition called Computer Eye Syndrome, or Digital Eye Strain. You can prevent this condition by wearing eyewear designed for computer use, maintaining proper desk posture, and creating an environment that limits glare and provides adequate lighting.

Tip 4: Take a Makeup Break

One benefit of working from home is that you can be a little more relaxed regarding your appearance. If your eyes have been bothering you, now is a great time to investigate whether your makeup has anything to do with it. If you have a suspicious rash or bump near your eyes, go makeup-free for a few days to see if you notice any improvement. If so, you may be allergic to your makeup, or it could be expired. Do the same for face products, like serums and creams that you use near your eyes.

Eye makeup should be replaced every three months if it is of liquid or creamy consistency. For eyeshadow, using a clean brush every time is the safest application method, while regularly sharpening pencil eyeliner to reveal fresh product will generally be enough to keep it sanitary. It can be disappointing to toss out expensive makeup, but it’s better than getting an eye infection! Try finding travel-size versions of your favorite mascara or other non-solid eye makeup products if you struggle to use them up before the three-month mark.

Tip 5: Don’t Put Off Necessary Eye Care

As an essential business, Rochester Optical is open and providing eye exams and other eye care services while taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of our staff and patients. If you need eye care in the Rochester area, please don’t hesitate to reach out for an appointment or product order. If you’re not in the area, contact your local optometrist with your concerns or requests for necessary items like eyeglasses replacements or contact lens recording. Medical care is an essential service, so there is no need to avoid it until stay-at-home orders are lifted. That being said, utilize telemedicine when possible, and take every measure to protect yourself if you need to visit a care provider in person.

Rochester Optical Is Doing Our Part For The Community

As a local business, we are deeply committed to serving our community in any way we can. In “normal” times, this means providing high-quality eye care to every patient. Now, it means doing that and more. You can learn more about our COVID-19 response and see how we’re making a positive impact in the Rochester community by visiting our COVID-19 page. We look forward to the day when we can open our door to a vibrant community once again. Until then, we will continue to provide the essential health services we have offered since 2001.