Masks Can Dry Out Your Eyes

They are essential these days, and something most of us are all too familiar with: MASKS.

This new necessary accessory has taken some getting used to.

Many of us have gone from basic disposable masks to high quality, reusable masks, accessories for our masks, and some unfortunate circumstances that come from wearing these masks.

Some of us have experienced “mask-ne” or acne that comes from our skin not being able to breathe from under the masks.

The one we hear about most at Slade & Baker is the ‘fogging up’ of glasses and something many of us do not even associate with our masks – Dry Eye.

Have you been feeling like your eyes are dryer, grittier or more tired than usual?  Yes, it could be the air changing from the warm summer season to the fall, but it can also be mask-associated.*

The Centre for Ocular Research and Education along with the University of Waterloo and CovidEyeFacts.org have created a great infographic** we wanted to share with our patients which covers the causes and solutions of Mask Associated Dry Eye (MADE).**

When you exhale, the air flows upward, out of the top of your face mask, and brushes the surface of your eyes. The flow of air over your eyes causes your tears to evaporate, which leaves the surface of your eyes dry.  Dry eyes may be red and tend to feel gritty (like you have sand in them), itchy, watery, and irritated.

  • Some tips shared via the infographic:
  • Make sure your mask fits well, and if you need to wear a mask for a prolonged amount of time, think about taping the top of the mask to your face to avoid that flow of air to touch the surface of your eyes.
  • See your eye care professional to determine which lubricating eye drops are recommended to help alleviate your dryness.
  • Try to limit the time you spend in places with air conditioning and try to take time off from phones, tablets and any other digital devices.

You are protecting yourself, your loved ones and the rest of your community from the spread of COVID by wearing a mask, and now we are trying to help you protect your eyes from your mask…seems crazy right?

Outside of protecting your eyes from getting dryer, we don’t want to leave off without mentioning that to help stop the spread of COVID, masks are great, but always wash your hands, and avoid rubbing your eyes or touching your face with hands that are unwashed!

At Slade & Baker, our dry eye specialists have experience treating dry eye with multiple treatment methods including an exciting Serum Tears treatment which uses a patient’s own plasma to help build up their own tears. Please feel free to read more here about the Serum Tears procedure and read a patient’s personal experience with Serum Tears here!

Please call us at 713-626-5544 or send us a quick email at info@visiontexas.com if you feel your eyes are dryer or are suffering from any of the above symptoms. Our dry eye specialists can evaluate the cause of your dry eye and help your eyes feel like they used to!

 

 

*Moshirfar, M., West, W.B. & Marx, D.P. Face Mask-Associated Ocular Irritation and Dryness. Ophthalmol Ther 9, 397–400 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40123-020-00282-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362770/

**CORE – Alerts Practitioners to Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE). (2020). Retrieved from: https://core.uwaterloo.ca/news/core-alerts-practitioners-to-mask-associated-dry-eye-made/ 

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