How Mask Wearing Can Cause Dry Eyes & How You Can Fix It

dry eys and masks

You might be saying to yourself, “2020 can’t get much worse.” But let’s be honest, there’s always more. Studies have recently shown that wearing face masks are triggering an increase in dry eye symptoms. However, do not fear! Snead Eye Group is here to provide you with more information and solutions. 

You might find yourself asking, “what is dry eye syndrome?” Dry eyes can cause blurred vision, redness, and discomfort among many other symptoms. It’s a fairly common problem that twenty- to twenty-five percent of people report worldwide, although the problem occurs mostly as we age.

With this emerging phenomenon amid the pandemic, eye experts are now urging the public to be mindful of this situation.

Mask associated dry eye occurs when the air we breathe from behind a mask escapes through the top of the mask and flows over the surface of our eyes. According to the eye experts at Snead Eye Group, there is a thin layer of fluid that covers the eye’s surface. The film dries out from our breath, especially when you are wearing a mask over prolonged periods. This can cause inflammation or irritation, also known as dry eye.

Medical experts have found that having an ill-fitted mask is one of the main causes of dry eye. Make sure your mask fits well and does not form a large gap towards the top. If your current mask does, try the surgical masks that include a moldable nose bar. This will allow the mask to hug your nose and cheeks, preventing exhalations from reaching the eyes.

The year 2020, has exposed many of us to a different reality, one where everything is done from behind a screen. If you find yourself working or learning remotely, you too can be at risk of dry eye. When we focus on a screen, we are less likely to blink thus resulting in our eyes not receiving as much moisture and hydration. Be mindful of your screen time and use the 20-20-20 rule. Every twenty-minutes for twenty-seconds, give yourself a break, and look at an object twenty feet away.

Our number one complaint lately is that patient’s glasses are constantly fogging when wearing a mask. At Snead Eye Group we have a solution, and it’s scleral lenses!

A scleral lens is a large contact lens that rests on the white portion of your eye as opposed to a regular contact. This lens is typically used to manage ocular surface disease such as dry eye. It also features a tear-filled valt over the cornea to assist with dry eyes. Our doctors at Snead Eye Group use a program called the “corneal vaulting system,” which will map the patient’s eyes and create the best possible custom fitting lens.

We know most people might try to find a quick fix to their dry eye symptoms from eye drops, but we strongly recommend seeing your eye doctor to find the correct eye solution for your needs. We hope you find this information insightful and if you have any questions pertaining to our solutions give us a call at, (239) 230-0318.