The association between wearing glasses and a decreased risk of COVID-19 infection remains inconclusive, according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Researchers conducted a cohort study of 1279 participants from Denmark and 841 participants from Sweden (60.4% men; 39.6% women) from June 2020 to August 2020 who worked for an international rescue corps. Among the cohort, 829 participants (64.8%) from Denmark and 619 (73.6%) from Sweden wore glasses.
The report states that wearing glasses was inversely associated with COVID-19 infection in Sweden (odds ratio [OR], 0.61; 95% CI, 0.37-0.99; P =.047; seroprevalence, 9.3%), but not in Denmark (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.53-2.45; P =.73; seroprevalence, 2.4%). After adjusting for age, sex, job function, and number of workday contacts for individuals in the Swedish cohort, the team found that wearing glasses was no longer associated with COVID-19 infection (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.37-1.11; P =.11). Stratified by job function, only office staff members had a lower risk of COVID-19 infection when wearing glasses, (OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.06-0.70; P =.01), and there was no difference among ambulance and health care staff.
“The risk of COVID-19 infection did not seem to differ between persons wearing glasses and users of contact lenses or reading glasses when compared with nonusers, supporting our decision to group these with glasses in the primary analyses,” according to the researchers. “While our analyses were inconclusive after adjusting for the available confounding factors, the possibility of an association remains a biologically plausible, safe, and inexpensive additional protection, which should be considered in disease-preventive strategies.”
Study limitations include failure to obtain information on personal protective equipment usage, reliance on self-reported data, a possibility of selection bias due to higher participation rates from individuals from Sweden, and a possibility of false positives (type 1 error) due to various testing without adjusting for multiple analyses.
Disclosure: This research was supported by the Lundbeck Foundation and Falck A/S. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Gregersen R, Jacobsen RK, Laursen J, et al. Association of COVID-19 infection with wearing glasses in a high-prevalence area in Denmark and Sweden. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 25, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.3234