17 September 2020

Got COVID? Should’ve gone to SpecSavers

The Back Page

People who wear glasses for more than eight hours a day – like me! –  have superhuman powers of COVID-19 deflection … apparently.

At the height of the pandemic, researchers in China noticed something quite odd.

Very few people with glasses were coming through the hospital system with COVID-19 infections (and, no, it wasn’t because they couldn’t find the hospital).

Their study, published as a brief report in JAMA Ophthalmology on September 16, concludes that people who wear glasses are probably at lower chance of COVID infection.

The study looked at 276 patients with COVID-19 at the Suizhou Zengdu Hospital in China, of whom 30 (11%) wore glasses and 16 wore glasses for more than eight hours a day.

There was a much lower proportion of glasses wearers with myopia in the COVID group than in the general community (6% vs 31%).

This led the authors to conclude that glasses could be shielding people against COVID.

This is probably because the bespectacled don’t touch their eyes with their hands 10 times per hour (unlike most people) and therefore are less likely to catch COVID, the authors speculated.

This study is very limited in terms of size, and the evidence to support the conclusions is a bit thin, given that the authors don’t actually have figures on the rates of glasses wearing in the general community to compare the hospital cohort against.

But pushing logic aside … as a reluctant glasses-wearer from the age of four, The Back page finds this sweet, sweet news, although it is troubling that it took a pandemic to make wearing spectacles cool.

If you see something stupid, say something stupid… Pop on your COVID ocular shields and send us some tips to [email protected]

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