To establish contact lens wear and care practices during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain.
A 58-item anonymous online survey was distributed during the period 30th April to 10th May via Qualtrics. The survey explored: a) demographic characteristics (age, sex, general health and where they were living during lockdown), b) changes in their contact lens use during lockdown, c) hygiene and contact lens compliance and d) concerns associated with contact lens wear and ways to support wearers during the pandemic.
Two hundred and sixty responses were analysed (38.8 ± 11.4 years old, 75% female). Three-quarters of participants reported that they were self-isolating or rigorously following social distancing advice. Sixty-seven percent of participants reported using their contact lenses less during the pandemic. Respondents were found to be compliant with handwashing prior to inserting and removing contact lenses (in both cases 97% doing this ‘most times’ or ‘every time’). However, only 44 % complied with the ‘20 s rule’ and 48 % used a shared towel to dry their hands. A higher proportion of hydrogen peroxide users replaced the lens case monthly compared to multi-purpose users (64% vs.49%; p < 0.001). Twenty-four percent admitted wearing lenses whilst showering and 16% did not consider ceasing lens wear if feeling unwell with flu/cold symptoms.
Eye care practitioners should continue to educate contact lens wearers to ensure safe contact lens wear to minimise the chance of developing contact lens related complications during the pandemic. Modifiable factors that need particular attention in Spain include: handwashing for at least 20s before lens handling, drying hands with single use paper towels, including a rub-and-rinse step for reusable lenses, lens case cleaning and renewal, avoidance of water exposure and when to cease lens wear during the pandemic.