With all routine eyecare postponed, it is especially important to keep your eyes healthy and protected during the COVID-19 lockdown.
If you are having any problems with your eyes, it is important you still seek help. We recommend firstly phoning your local Specsavers who will be able to arrange a telephone review. If you require urgent or emergency care, they will be able to arrange for you to be seen by an eye specialist in a safe environment — this may be at your local store or an eye emergency department.
Our stores are open for essential and urgent eyecare or we can offer remote advice.
Why it’s important to keep your eyes healthy during coronavirus
It’s always important to look after your eye health. Here are three scientifically proven ways you can keep your eyes healthy:
- Stop smoking – Yes, we know that is a big ask, but smoking is linked to both cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. Smoking can also make your eyes feel dry and gritty.
- Eat a good diet of leafy green vegetables - (they contain lutein which is great for your eyes) and will help you to maintain a healthy weight.
- Protect your eyes from UV light - We’ve been so lucky to have some beautiful sunny days recently but remember, sunlight can increase your risk of developing conditions such as cataracts, and yellowing of the white conjunctiva at the front of your eye. By simply wearing a pair of CE marked sunglasses, you can protect your eyes from the harmful UV light.
How to keep your eyes safe during COVID-19
Alongside practices to keep your eyes healthy, there are a few measures you can take to help protect your eyes and minimise your risk of needing emergency care:
- If you wear contact lenses, follow the advice of your optician and always wash your hands scrupulously before you handle them – that will limit the chance of eye infections.
- If you are painting or doing DIY, wear protective eyewear to reduce the risk of eye injury. Normal glasses or sunglasses will not provide enough protection, ensure you use safety glasses that conform to BSEN 166.
- Finally, keep your eyes safe by frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds in line with government recommendations and don’t touch your eyes until you have washed your hands. If viral particles come into contact with the mucous membrane of your eye, say through touching, this could result in an individual becoming infected. Washing your hands frequently minimises the risk of infection.
How to administer eye drops safely during COVID-19
People with specific eye conditionsneed to use eye drops on a daily basis. Others use drops on a more occasional basis, for example contact lens wearers or those who suffer with occasional dry eye symptoms. Of course this need will continue during the COVID-19 period. In order to use drops safely, we recommend that you always wash your hands before instilling them, and then follow the following step-by-step guide:
- Check they are the correct drops and still in date
- Shake the bottle and remove the lid, place on a clean surface or tissue
- Looking in a mirror, pull down your lower lid
- Hold the bottle upside down and softly squeeze it to form a small droplet
- Squeeze out that small single drop, so it goes between your lower lid and eye
- Place your finger on the corner of your eye by your nose and gently blink to help absorption
- Wipe away any tears on your cheek by dabbing with a clean tissue
- Repeat on the other eye
If you need a bit more help, you can watch a video here.
Advice for glasses wearers
Although glasses may provide some limited protection from respiratory droplets, there is no evidence that glasses offer protection from catching COVID-19.
Remember to regularly clean your glasses to ensure they do not become contaminated. Run them under cool water and dry with a lint-free tissue, then use a glasses cleaning spray and microfibre cloth to clean the lenses. Do not scrub the lenses, or use a surfactant cleaner (like soap), as this may scratch or craze the coating.
You can find out more and watch some videos on our advice on wearing glasses during coronavirus page.
Advice for contact lens wearers
If you wear contact lenses, you’ll know the importance of keeping your hands clean when handling them at the best of times, but it’s more important now than ever.
Advice for allergy sufferers
While life for most of us is ‘on hold’ — unfortunately the same can’t be said about hay fever season. If you’re struggling with allergies try the following advice:
- Use a pollen calendar and stay indoors when the pollen count is high, keeping windows and doors closed.
- Wear sunglasses when outside, wraparound frames may provide added help.
- Change your clothing in the evening, so you are wearing pollen-free garments.
- Speak to your optometrist or pharmacist about anti-allergy eye drops to provide a protective defence, this is especially useful if you wish to enjoy contact lenses wear continuously throughout the allergy season.
Take a look at our guide for more information on understanding hay fever symptoms during COVID-19.
Changes in eye health to look out for
If you experience eye pain or discomfort, redness, or a change in vision, you should contact your Specsavers optician. Practices are open to help and can arrange a telephone review or emergency care. For more information and the latest updates on eyecare during coronavirus, simply visit our COVID-19 Care resource.
If you have any other questions that you’d like answered about any eye health related concerns you have, we’d be more than happy to help. Just click on this ‘Ask the optician’ link and it will take you to the relevant part of our website so you can send us a message.
If you are planning to visit us, take a minute to read what we’re doing to help prevent the spread of the virus in our stores along with advice about who should avoid coming in to see us so we can help protect our customers and colleagues. You’ll find this information here.
Everything you need to knowabout Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Advice for glasses & contact lenses wearers
For more advice about looking after your eye health at this time.
While you are home…
Eye exercises, health tips and hearing advice for you while you are home.
Will there still bea hearing service?
Our stores will still be open for essential and urgent hearing services, while following official advice.