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Glasses wearers may have lower COVID-19 risk


(Reuters) – People who regularly wear glasses have a moderately lower risk of contracting COVID-19 while contact lenses offered no added protection, according to a large study that highlights the importance of the eye as a route of coronavirus infection.

More than 19,000 participants in the Virus Watch study in England and Wales responded to a questionnaire on the use of glasses and contact lenses. Starting as early as June 2020, participants had been reporting weekly on their COVID-19 status, and more than 11,000 provided monthly blood samples to show whether or not they had been infected with the coronavirus.

After taking other risk factors into account, the researchers found a 15% lower risk of infection for those who reported wearing glasses always for general use compared to those who never wore glasses. The protective effect was reduced in those who said their glasses interfered with mask wearing, and there was no protective effect seen for contact lens wearers, according to a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

“Protective eye wear should be considered as part of broader strategies to prevent community transmission of infection and may be valuable to consider in the event of future pandemics and in high exposure occupations including healthcare,” the researchers said.

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