Having bad eyesight may have been protecting you from COVID. In a new study out of India, researchers found that people wearing glasses were up to three times less likely to catch the coronavirus. This is because people who wear glasses are less likely to touch their eyes, which can lead to infection.
A previous study conducted in China found just 5% of those hospitalized with COVID wore glasses, while about a third of the country’s population wears glasses.
In this study, the researchers analyzed data from 304 people (223 male and 81 female) at a hospital in northern India over two weeks last summer. The patients were aged between 10 and 80 and had all reported Covid symptoms.
Of those, 19 per cent said they wore glasses most of the time. The researchers found participants touched their face up to 23 times each hour on average and their eyes an average of three times per hour. They found the risk of contracting Covid-19 was two to three times lower among those who wear glasses.
“Touching and rubbing of the eyes with contaminated hands may be a significant route of infection,” the report said. “Long term use of spectacles may prevent repeated touching and rubbing of the eyes.”
Authors in the study noted that COVID-19 infection through the eyes “is extremely rare,” but droplets from the virus can still easily go from the eyes to one’s nose or mouth. Doctors have previously recommended that people who wear contact lenses switch to glasses for an extra layer of protection.