Association of Daily Wear of Eyeglasses With Susceptibility to Coronavirus Disease 2019 Infection | Ophthalmology | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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    4 Comments for this article
    Transmission Method
    Paul Jankel, Economics | Not Medical
    Thank you for your work.

    Do the authors consider that hand-to-eye transmission (mentioned in the study) is a sufficient explanation for these results?

    Or should these results be seen as evidence of airborne (air-to-eye) transmission?
    Reporting Question
    Alex Szojka | University of Alberta
    Thank you for your work.

    Is it possible that the rate of glasses-wearing was underreported/underdetected (e.g. patients & treating physicians, being overwhelmed, didn't think it was relevant information and so they did not record it)? Since 16 patients were identified as regular glasses-wearers (and 14 with presbyopia), does that mean the rest (246) were specified explicitly to not wear glasses regularly? Or was it assumed that if glasses-wearing wasn't specified, that the patients did not wear glasses?
    Eye Protection as an Essential Part of PPE.
    Gary Ordog, MD, DABEM, DABMT | County of Los Angeles, Department of Health Services, (retired)
    Thank you for the informative study. First, in response to a previous question, the methodology is stated to include direct questioning about eyeglasses, also in my experience, the direct questioning of patients upon hospital admission includes the use of eyeglasses, dentures, prostheses, pacemakers, etc. which would make this information readily available on admission documents. So this set of data seems plausible. The validity of matching of the experimental with the control group is more questionable. Nevertheless, the results show a very strong association in the protective action of eyeglasses against SARS-CoV-2, and in conclusion would support the use of eye protection in PPE use. The preferred PPE should have eye protection that prevents "touching" and direct air flow to the eyes. Also, there may be other confounding variables that are causing this strong association, for example: 'further investigation could show that eyeglass users frequently clean the glasses with sterilizing wipe, thus presenting a chemical shield to the virus.' Again, thank you for your work, and as usual, further study is required. Stay safe with eye protection.
    Daily Eyeglass Wearing and COVID-19 Infection
    Michael McAleer, PhD(Econometrics),Queen's | Asia University, Taiwan
    The interesting and novel report suggests that daily wearers of eyeglasses for more than 8 hours may be less likely to be infected with COVID-19, based on 276 patients in Suizhou, Hubei province, China, for the period 27  January to 13 March 2020.

    Droplets near the eyes are viewed as an important route of infection, which is a prescient observation based on data that ended in mid-March 2020.

    Comprehensive discussions since the end of the sample data in the study of the transmission of COVID-19 by droplets and, more worryingly, by lighter evaporating aerosols, are given in Klompas, Baker
    and Rhee (2020) (1) and Jayaweera, Perera, Gunawardana and Manatunge(2020) (2).    

    The wearing of eyeglasses may have a noticeable effect on the spread of COVID-19 against droplets, as shown in the report.

    However, as the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be carried by aerosols that remain suspended in the air and are carried by currents, medical masks, face shields, social distancing, and the wearing of eyeglasses might not provide protection against infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


    (1) Klompas, M., M.A. Baker and C. Rhee (2020), Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 - Theoretical Considerations and Available Evidence, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2020, 324(5), 441-442, published online 13 July 2020, doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12458.    

    (2) Jayaweera, M., H. Perera, B. Gunawardana and J. Manatunge (2020), Transmission of COVID-19 virus by droplets and aerosols: A critical review on the unresolved dichotomy, Environmental Research, 88, September 2020, published online 2020 June 13, doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109819.
    Brief Report
    September 16, 2020

    Association of Daily Wear of Eyeglasses With Susceptibility to Coronavirus Disease 2019 Infection

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Department of Thoracic Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China
    • 2Department of Critical Care Medicine, Suizhou Zengdu Hospital, Suizhou, China
    • 3Department of Radiotherapy, Jiangxi Cancer Hospital, Nanchang, China
    • 4Department of Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, The First Affiliated Hospital of Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou, China
    JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(11):1196-1199. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.3906
    Key Points

    Question  What is the association between the daily wear of eyeglasses and susceptibility to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

    Findings  In this cohort of 276 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Suizhou, China, the proportion of daily wearers of eyeglasses was lower than that of the local population (5.8% vs 31.5%).

    Meaning  These findings suggest that daily wearers of eyeglasses may be less likely to be infected with COVID-19.


    Importance  The proportion of daily wearers of eyeglasses among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is small, and the association between daily wear of eyeglasses and COVID-19 susceptibility has not been reported.

    Objective  To study the association between the daily wearing of eyeglasses and the susceptibility to COVID-19.

    Design, Setting, and Participants  This cohort study enrolled all inpatients with COVID-19 in Suizhou Zengdu Hospital, Suizhou, China, a designated hospital for COVID-19 treatment in the area, from January 27 to March 13, 2020. COVID-19 was diagnosed according to the fifth edition of Chinese COVID-19 diagnostic guidelines. The proportion of persons with myopia who wore eyeglasses in Hubei province was based on data from a previous study.

    Exposures  Daily wearing of eyeglasses for more than 8 hours.

    Main Outcomes and Measures  The main outcomes were the proportions of daily wearers of eyeglasses among patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and among the local population. Data on exposure history, clinical symptoms, underlying diseases, duration of wearing glasses, and myopia status and the proportion of people with myopia who wore eyeglasses in Hubei province were collected. People who wore glasses for more than 8 hours a day were defined as long-term wearers.

    Results  A total of 276 patients with COVID-19 were enrolled. Of these, 155 (56.2%) were male, and the median age was 51 (interquartile range, 41-58) years. All those who wore glasses for more than 8 hours a day had myopia and included 16 of 276 patients (5.8%; 95% CI, 3.04%-8.55%). The proportion of people with myopia in Hubei province, based on a previous study, was 31.5%, which was much higher than the proportion of patients with COVID-19 who had myopia in this sample.

    Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Suizhou, China, the proportion of inpatients with COVID-19 who wore glasses for extended daily periods (>8 h/d) was smaller than that in the general population, suggesting that daily wearers of eyeglasses may be less susceptible to COVID-19.