Optometrists have noticed an uptick in patients with new dry eye symptoms especially among the elderly, immunocompromised, and clinical staff who wear masks almost full-time.
When masks don’t fit tightly, breathing can cause air to blow upward from the mask into the eyes. If this happens continuously, the air may cause the tear film that protects your eyes to evaporate. Because this natural film moisturizes the eyes surface, when it dries so do your eyes. They may feel scratchy or sting.
What can you do to prevent dry eyes when you’re wearing a mask?
- Make sure your mask fits well. Look for a mask with a nose bridge you can shape to your face. Adjustable ear loops can help you get a tighter fit.
- Use medical tape if you need to seal your mask and avoid taping too close to your lower eyelid.
- Use artificial tears a few times a day.
- Remember to blink! Especially if you are looking at a screen all day.
- When possible, take a break, remove the mask, and let your eyes rest.
- Call Horvath Vision Care if dry eye symptoms persist to further evaluate the unlying cause and develop the best treatment plan for you.