People who wear glasses could be up to three times less likely to get coronavirus, according to a new study conducted in India.
The preliminary study suggests that glass-wearers may have the extra protection because they tend to touch their eyes less frequently than most people.
“Touching and rubbing of the eyes with contaminated hands may be a significant route of infection” for COVID-19, the authors wrote in a report published on medRxiv, a website that compiles medical studies before they are peer-reviewed.
The new study found that the risk of infection was two to three times lower among those who wear glasses for “long periods of time,” meaning at least eight hours a day, according to the report.
Indian researchers described the findings as “statistically significant.”
The study was conducted last summer in the northern district of Kanpur Dehat. It involved 304 patients ranging in age from 10 to 80 years old. All of them experienced coronavirus symptoms and about 60 were considered long-time glass-wearers, according to the report.
The study authors noted that COVID-19 infection through the eyes “is extremely rare,” but they said that droplets from the virus can easily go from the eyes to one’s nose or mouth.
The best way to prevent this type of infection is to avoid touching the eyes. Medical workers who treat coronavirus patients should go even further and wear safety goggles for extra protection, according to the study.