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  • Eyewear and COVID-19 Infection

    By Jean Shaw
    Selected and reviewed by Neil M. Bressler, MD, and Deputy Editors

    Journal Highlights

    JAMA Ophthalmology, October 2022

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    Does wearing eyeglasses or contacts protect against COVID-19 transmission? Gregersen et al. investigated this ques­tion and found inconclusive results.

    This cohort study was conducted during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark and Sweden. Employees of Falck, an international rescue corps, participated in voluntary COVID screenings every two weeks from June 22, 2020, to Aug. 13, 2020. The employees served in different job functions (including ambulance, health care, firefighting, and office staff posi­tions), and 2,120 employees partici­pated. Of these, 1,448 wore contacts or glasses, including reading glasses.

    Participants filled out a question­naire regarding their vision correction. To adjust for potential confounding factors, information on age, sex, job function, and number of contacts encountered during the workday were included. The primary outcome was the rate of COVID-19 infection before or during the study period.

    In the Swedish cohort (n = 841), wearing glasses was inversely associated with COVID-19 infection (odds ratio [OR] .61; 95% confidence interval [CI], .37-.99; p = .047; seroprevalence, 9.3%). However, this did not hold true for the 1,279 employees in the Danish cohort (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, .53-2.45; p = .73; seroprevalence, 2.4%). Moreover, once the results for the Swedish cohort were adjusted for confounding factors, the effect size changed slightly and lost statistical significance.

    The authors noted that while their analyses were inconclusive, the possi­bility that glasses provide protection against COVID “remains a biologi­cally plausible, safe, and inexpensive additional protection, which should be considered in disease-preventive strate­gies.” (Also see related commentary by B. Michele Melia, ScM, in the same issue.)

    The original article can be found here.