Does wearing glasses protect you from coronavirus?

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Abstract

Researchers in China have found that people who wear glasses appear to be at lower risk of catching COVID-19. The authors of the study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, noticed that since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019, few patients with spectacles were admitted to hospital suffering from COVID-19. To investigate further, they collected data on the wearing of glasses from all patients with COVID-19 as part of their medical history.

Their small study found that only 16 (5.8%) of the 276 patients admitted with COVID-19 wore glasses for more than eight hours a day. As they determined that all these patients were short-sighted, they next looked up the proportion of people with myopia (short-sightedness) in Hubei Province, where the hospital is located. They found this to be much larger (31.5%), indicating that the proportion of short-sighted COVID-19 hospital admissions was over five times lower than might be expected from that population.

This is a fascinating observation, but as with all single studies the results must be treated with caution. While eye protection has always been an important component of personal protective equipment (PPE), the magnitude of difference reported by this study raises suspicion. This is not to say that the results may not be real, but rather that we shouldn’t start advising large-scale behavioural changes (such as wearing goggles alongside our face masks) until they have been independently confirmed.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • KE
  • COVID-19
  • PPE

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