Aim: Contact lens wearers need to maintain optimal hygiene practices during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise contact-lens complications including microbial keratitis and corneal infiltrative events. This online survey (UK and Ireland) explored contact lens wearers' compliance behaviours, attitudes and concerns during the pandemic.
Method: The 60-item anonymous online survey was distributed during a 1-month period via Qualtrics (starting on 14/04/20). The survey captured: a) demographic information, b) type of lenses worn and compliance with lens wear and care procedures, c) adherence to recommendations and d) concerns associated with contact lens wear during the pandemic.
Results: Two hundred and forty seven responses were received (34.3 ± 11.7 years old, 79% female). Seventy nine percent of participants reported that they were self-isolating or rigorously following social distance advice. Fifty-six percent of participants reported using their lenses less during the pandemic. Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported following the recommended 20-second rule most times/every time and 96% used soap and water during handwashing. Eleven percent of respondents admitted not following recommendations regarding disposal of lenses and 18% would not consider ceasing lens wear if unwell (with flu/cold) during the pandemic.
Conclusion: Respondents reported wearing their contact lenses less than usual. Good compliance with handwashing was observed but soft reusable lens wearers showed a statistically significant lower compliance with lens wear and care compared to daily disposable lens wearers (p=<0.001).
Keywords: COVID-19; Compliance; Contact lens; Microbial keratitis.
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