Why are we still wearing face masks if coronavirus can be transmitted through the eyes?
Back in early April, we wrote an article titled, “Three most important things you can do to protect yourself from coronavirus.” The article was written at a time when the world did not a lot about the virus. In the article, we pointed our readers to guidelines from Dr. David Price, a doctor Cornell Medical Center in New York city
Dr. Price said, “practicing the following three most important things will protect you against the deadly COVID-19 virus:”
- Practice social distancing – Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).
- Keep your hands clean by washing your hands often with soap for 20 seconds (plain old soap works just fine).
- Don’t touch your face.
The third practice is to not touch your face, which also includes your eyes. This raises the question: Can coronavirus transmission happen through the eyes? Since much still remains unknown about the coronavirus, including whether it truly can be transmitted through your eyes.
However, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the answer is that there is a likelihood that coronavirus can transmit through your eyes. AAO says the virus is thought to spread mostly by person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
AAO is not alone. Virologist Joseph Fair, PhD, an NBC News contributor, raised that concern when asked if someone could catch COVID-19 through the eyes. According to WebMD, Dr. Joseph Fair said: “My best guess,” he told the interviewer, “was that it came through the eye route.” Asked if people should start wearing eye protection, Fair replied, “In my opinion, yes.”
While Dr. Fair is convinced that eye protection helps, other experts aren’t sure. “I don’t think we can answer that question with 100% confidence at this time,” says H. Nida Sen, MD, director of the Uveitis Clinic at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD, and a clinical investigator who is studying the effects of COVID-19 on the eye. But, she says, “I think it is biologically plausible.”
Now, we’re back to the same question, why do we wear mask if we only protect our nose and mouth and not the eyes? Is wearing a face mask in public gives a false sense of security? Back in April, Dr. Deborah Birx even cautioned masks shouldn’t give people ‘false sense of security.‘ Tell us what you think.