How to Treat Dry Eye Associated With a Mask

Have you noticed that your eyes have become especially dry lately? There can be many reasons for this, including wearing a mask. But before we go any further, let’s be clear: having dry eyes is not a reason to stop wearing a face mask in situations where you need them. This is especially true because there are ways to deal with it. And here’s what we’re going to talk about today: how to treat dry eye associated with a mask. Here’s what you need to know.

Why do face masks dry my eyes?

Considering that face masks cover our nose and mouth, how do they affect our eyes? Well, researchers at the Center for Eye Research and Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo in Canada have been studying this for months and called it mask-related dry eye (MADE). We will let them describe what is DONE and why it happens :

The masks greatly reduce the spread of air to the outside. However, the exhaled air must still be dispersed; when the mask fits loosely to the face, the likely path is upward. This forces the flow of air through the surface of the eye, creating conditions that accelerate the evaporation of the tear film, resulting in dry spots on the surface of the eye and discomfort.

In addition to worsening symptoms in patients with pre-existing dry eye disease, MADE can affect a wide range of others: the elderly, who usually have poor tear film quality, contact lens wearers, and masked people who work in air-conditioned rooms for extended periods of time. settings and / or when using digital screens.

Aside from the discomfort, MADE can encourage people to rub their eyes for temporary relief – increasing the likelihood of unwashed hands being brought up to their faces. In turn, this increases the likelihood of contracting coronavirus through the mouth, nose and, to a lesser extent, through the eyes.

How to treat dry eyes caused by masks?

According to CORE professionals, if you experience dry eye (especially if it’s something new), you need to talk to a qualified healthcare professional to rule out any other possible causes. Otherwise, here are their tips for working with MADE :

  1. Make sure you wear your mask correctly, especially if you are wearing glasses or sunglasses. CORE suggests to carefully glue the top edge of the mask so that it does not interfere with the blinking.
  2. Use lubricating eye drops as needed.
  3. Try to limit the time you spend in air-conditioned rooms and take regular breaks from working with digital devices.

Technically, this is pretty solid advice (and common sense), but having a bottle of eye drops on hand and paying attention to mask fit can make a difference.


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