Do People With Glasses Have a Covid-19 Edge?

What we know about eye barriers and the virus

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

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Photo: Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

A new study published today in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology suggests that daily glasses wearers might be less susceptible to Covid-19. While the findings are compelling for people who wear glasses, don’t get too excited just yet. The study is very small and only really shows that in a sample of 276 people with Covid-19 in a hospital in Suizhou, China, the proportion of people who wore glasses regularly (over eight hours a day) was smaller than that of the general population.

This study is caveat city!

A research group of 276 people is considered extremely small. The researchers’ observation is that among those Covid-19 patients, 16 were nearsighted and wore glasses. The proportion of people with nearsightedness in the Hubei province is 31.5%, which is much higher than the proportion of people with Covid-19 who had nearsightedness in the hospital. So the researchers identified a small but interesting trend that fewer people with vision problems were among their 276 patients than would be expected based on the prevalence of nearsightedness in the surrounding community. It stands to reason that perhaps wearing glasses protected people from the virus in some way.

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that