With new cases of COVID-19 reported daily, it’s more important than ever to practice proper hygiene. Doctors are advising people to avoid touching their faces as a way to keep the virus from spreading even further.

If you wear glasses, this can be tricky, since glasses are worn on your face and you typically handle them with your hands. But don’t worry; the information below will give you a polished understanding of how to keep your glasses and your eyes clean during this global pandemic.

How Do You Keep Bacteria From Getting in Your Eyes?

In order to keep bacteria from getting into and affecting your eyes, you must keep your hands clean by washing them frequently. Hands and fingers carry more bacteria than any other place on the body, which is why touching your face is such a threat. If you must touch your eyes for any reason, it’s critical that your hands are thoroughly washed first.

Bacterial and viral eye infections can also be prevented by keeping your distance from individuals who are showing signs of an eye infection. Maintaining a safe distance from friends and family who are ill can help lower the number of infectious germs that are spread.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) and other bacterial infections are the most common to affect your eyes. Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on what kind you have, such as bacterial or allergic. Prescription ointments, eye drops, and allergy medications are often prescribed and are typically very effective in clearing symptoms quickly.

It’s also possible to get a viral strain of conjunctivitis. While antiviral or steroid eye drops may be needed in severe cases, viral eye infections normally resolve on their own.

Preventing infection is almost always more effective than treating it, so washing your hands is of the utmost importance. Ensuring your hands and fingers are clean is the best way to keep from spreading germs.

How to Properly Wash Your Hands Before Handling Eyeglasses

Washing your hands every time you do something as routine as handling your glasses can seem tedious.

soapy hands under running water in sink

But think about how many times you touch your glasses throughout the day: to push your glasses up when they slide down your face, to take your glasses off to clean the lenses or to remove your reading glasses when not in use. Whether you are a glasses wearer or not, hand-washing is essential when practicing diligent personal hygiene.

There is no “incorrect” method to washing your hands, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend these steps for the most effective hand-washing:

  1. Turn water on at a conservative pressure — enough to rinse your hands, but not enough to waste.
  2. Apply soap to hands and rub them together, creating a lather. Don’t forget between your fingers, under your nails and the backs of your hands.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need help keeping time? Try singing the 20-second chorus from one of these well-known songs while washing your hands.
    – “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
    – “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
    – “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
    – “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
    – “Happy Birthday” (twice)
  4. Thoroughly rinse your hands with clean water.
  5. Use a clean towel to dry your hands and turn off the tap using a towel or your elbow.

How Do I Clean and Disinfect My Glasses?

If your glasses become contaminated or dirty (which can happen from a variety of sources) having clean hands won’t be much help against an eye infection. Cleaning your glasses regularly is a great way to maintain best hygiene practices and preventing any bacteria from getting near your eyes.

Cleaning Your Glasses

Once your hands have been washed, take your glasses off and run them under a low-pressure stream of lukewarm water. This will remove any debris or dust that has collected on the lenses and frames.

Apply a small drop of dish soap to each lens. The soap should be free of any lotions to avoid leaving streaks. Gently massage the soap on both sides of the lenses and the entire frames, reaching all the nooks and crannies.

After sudsing your glasses for a minute or so, rinse them under the water. Examine the hinges and lip where the lenses meet the frames to make sure no soap residue is left. Remove excess water by gently shaking your glasses then dry them off with a clean, lint-free towel.

In this time of social distancing, self-isolation and, for some, quarantine, using the recommendations above will leave your eyes — and your overall health — in tip-top shape.