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Glasses wearers up to three times less likely to get COVID-19, study finds

Researchers found a ‘statistically significant’ protective role of glasses

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A new study finds that people who continuously wear glasses throughout the day are two-to-three times less likely to get COVID-19. 

Researchers said the reason may be that touching and rubbing the eyes with contaminated hands “may be a significant route of infection.” 

For the study, researchers asked 300 people who were hospitalized in India due to COVID-19 what their glasses-wearing habits were. The people surveyed ranged in age from 10 to 80. 

About 60 patients reported being “long-time glasses-wearers.” Overall, fewer glasses wearers contracted the virus compared to those who didn’t, suggesting that glasses might provide another line of defense against COVID-19.

"This present study showed that the risk of COVID-19 was 2-3 times less in spectacles-wearing population than the population not using spectacles. [The] protective role of the spectacles was found statistically significant if those were used for [a] long period of the day," or more than eight hours, the researchers concluded. 

Less susceptible to COVID-19

The authors said people typically touch their eyes around three times per hour, but glasses wearers aren’t as likely to touch their eyes.

“Protective role of the spectacles was found statistically significant, if those were used for (a) long period of the day,” the researchers added. “Touching and rubbing of the eyes with contaminated hands may be a significant route of infection.”

The team said part of the eye may serve as a gateway for the virus to get into the body. 

“The nasolacrimal duct may be a route of virus transmission from conjunctival sac to the nasopharynx,” according to the study. “Touching one’s nose and mouth is significantly reduced when wearing a face mask properly. But wearing a face mask does not protect the eyes.” 

The study was published in medRxiv and has not been peer-reviewed.

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