Question & Answer

Can wearing eye glasses prevent infection from Covid-19 in the general public?

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  • There have been claims on social and in mainstream media that, for the general public, wearing eye glasses can prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • There is currently no good evidence to help us decide if wearing eye glasses can prevent infection from COVID-19 in the general public.
  • There are currently no national (Health Service Executive) or international (World Health Organisation) guidelines that advise the public to wear eye glasses to prevent infection from COVID-19.
  • The major transmission route for COVID-19 is by droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth. If these droplets enter your eyes, nose or mouth you are at risk of becoming infected. This is why following public health advice on social distancing and hand washing is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises healthcare workers to wear eye protection to prevent infection – however this is in the form of specifically designed equipment such as safety goggles, and it is in combination with other personal protective equipment.
  • The CDC does not give any recommendation that wearing eye glasses can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice physical distancing and to wash your hands properly and often.

Things to Remember

Reviewers

  • Lead Researcher: Dr Hannah Delaney, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, NUI Galway & Trinity College Dublin.
  • Reviewed by: Prof Declan Devane, School of Nursing and Midwifery, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Dr Darren Dahly, Principal Statistician, HRB Clinical Research Facility, Cork, Ireland, and Senior Lecturer in Research Methods in the UCC School of Public Health.
  • Evidence Advisor: Casey Donaghey, PPI Ignite, NUI Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times.