Glasses wearers a third as likely to catch Covid, claims study

Findings based on bespectacled people not rubbing their eyes as much

News that glasses wearers are less likely to catch Covid will be welcomed by bespectacled luminaries like Elton John. EPA
News that glasses wearers are less likely to catch Covid will be welcomed by bespectacled luminaries like Elton John. EPA

The visually impaired got an unlikely boost on Saturday as a new study claimed they are up to three times less likely to be infected with Covid-19.

Covid thrives on contact and the report’s India-based researchers said glasses wearers rubbed their eyes less than non-glasses wearers.

Eyes are seen as a particularly susceptible portal for viral entry with tear ducts able to transport Covid into the nasal cavity.

Researchers studied 304 people (223 male, 81 female) in a northern Indian hospital over the course of two weeks last summer.

Participants were aged between 10 and 80, and all had reported Covid symptoms. Crucially, 19 per cent said they wore glasses almost all the time.

The study found participants touched their face up to 23 times an hour on average, and their eyes three times an hour.

These numbers dropped by up to two or three times for those wearing spectacles, leading to the researchers’ conclusion.

"The present study showed that the risk of Covid-19 was about two to three times less in spectacles wearing population than the population not wearing those," the report states.

The report is published on the medRxiv website and its findings are yet to be peer reviewed.

Updated: February 21, 2021 09:26 AM

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