Chinese scientists have discovered that people who wear glasses seem to have less risk of contracting COVID-19. It is the first study to explore the possibility. This poses the question: Is it legitimate coronavirus protection?
People with Eyeglasses Less Tested Positive for COVID-19
The authors of the study published in "JAMA Ophthalmology" observed that since the novel coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan in December last year, few patients with eyeglasses were hospitalized diagnosed with COVID-19.
Needing glasses to go through your daily routine can be a minor hassle but the frames could have an extra bonus during this pandemic.
In the study published on September 16, Chinese researchers observed 276 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. They found that less than 6% regularly wore eyeglasses. Those who wore them had myopia or nearsightedness, reported Business Insider. The hospital was in the Suizhou Zengdu Hospital in Suizhou, China.
Only One Study Supporting the Claim
The researchers found that the proportion of short-sighted COVID-19 hospitalizations was more than 5 times lower than might be expected from the population of people in myopia in the Hubei province.
This is merely one study with very small sample size and only displayed an association and not a direct cause and effect between donning eyeglasses and rates of COVID-19 cases, reported Aljareeza.
Taking into account the rate of nearsightedness appearing to be much higher in the general population than in the COVID-19 patient ward, the scientists' curiosity was piqued if wearing glasses can protect a person from COVID-19.
According to the study authors regarding glasses as coronavirus protection, "Wearing of eyeglasses is common among Chinese individuals of all ages. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in December 2019, we observed that few patients with eyeglasses were admitted in the hospital ward," reported New York Times.
Snopes noted that this was a remarkable observation, but as with all single studies the results must be treated with vigilance. The website added that while eye protection has consistently been a vital component of personal protective equipment (PPE), the magnitude of difference indicated by this study raises dubiousness.
The study researchers suggested that individuals who wear glasses for at least eight hours every day may be less possible to be diagnosed COVID-19.
The scientists wrote, "These findings suggest that the eye may be an important infection route for Covid-19, and more attention should be paid to preventive measures such as frequent handwashing and avoiding touching the eyes."
Aljareeza also noted that to draw any assertive conclusions from the single study would be premature.
However, according to the Medical Journal of Virology, one's eyes could be a crucial route of entry to the body for COVID-19.
The authors speculated that their study "could be preliminary evidence that daily wearers of eyeglasses are less susceptible to COVID-19."
Experts indicate that it is too soon to draw conclusions from the study or to advise the public to wear glasses as coronavirus protection in addition to masks in order to flatten the curve of the infection.