Good news, glasses wearers: Your glasses may offer you additional protection against the new coronavirus, according to the results of a new study.
In a report published earlier this month on the pre-print site medRxiv, researchers say those who wear glasses for at least eight hours a day are less likely to catch the new disease because they touch their eyes less often than those who do not wear glasses.
COVID-19 is mainly spread when a sick person coughs, sneezes or even talks, and the infectious particles pose a risk to healthy people if they breathe these infectious particles (hence the importance of wearing masks and social distancing measures). However, the virus can also spread through the membranes that protect your eyes, namely the conjunctiva.
In fact, “touching and rubbing the eyes with dirty hands can be an important route of infection for the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the researchers wrote.
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For the study, researchers examined just over 300 people who were hospitalized for COVID-19 in India. Patients aged 10 to 80 were asked about their habits of wearing glasses. According to the report, about 60 patients have been identified as “longtime wearers.”
Eventually, the researchers concluded that those who wore glasses were two to three times less likely to become infected with COVID-19 than those who did not wear glasses.
“The present study showed that the risk of COVID-19 was 2-3 times lower in the population wearing glasses than in the population not wearing glasses. [The] the protective role of the goggles was found to be statistically significant if they were used for [a] long period of the day, “or more than eight hours,” they concluded.
The findings support previous research on this topic. In a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology in September, for example, Chinese researchers also found that those who wore glasses for long periods of time may be less susceptible to COVID-19.
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“According to reports published in recent years, the spread of myopia [or nearsightedness] China now has more than 80 percent of the population, “the study’s authors wrote at the time.” Wearing glasses is common among Chinese individuals of all ages. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in December 2019, we have noticed that few patients with glasses are admitted to the hospital ward. “
Kayla Rivas of Fox News contributed to this report.