Just when you’ve started to get used to wearing masks everywhere you go, Dr. Anthony Fauci is now recommending wearing protection for the eyes. On Wednesday, Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told ABC News, “If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it.”

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The idea behind shielding the eyes comes from the fact that mucosa, which are membranes with lots of mucous glands, are found not only in the mouth and nose, but also in the eyes. Covering them in situations where you may be in close contact with others, especially in a community where there is known, or higher risk of infection can offer benefits.

Fauci noted that eye coverings are “not universally recommended” at this time, “but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can.”

When asked if protective eyewear might be recommended in the future, he responded, “It might, if you really want perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces.”

According to the CDC, the “Use of eye protection is recommended in areas with moderate to substantial community transmission. For areas with minimal to no community transmission, eye protection is considered optional, unless otherwise indicated as part of standard precautions.”

Eye protection is generally recommended for health care professionals or for those in situations where direct splashes or sprays in areas of contamination may be a risk factor.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “it is possible to get infected after touching a virus contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, eyes, or nose.”

One benefit to face shields is that they do make it more difficult to touch the face and eyes, which many people still do while wearing masks.

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