Due to the Corona pandemic, almost everyone is wearing a mask fearing an infection. While this protective measure is essential to combat COVID-19’s spread, a new phenomenon is emerging, that of increasing reports of dry, uncomfortable eyes. It has been found that wearing a mask can cause a rash of skin complications, including acne and dryness besides affecting our eyes. Wearing masks can also trigger ocular conditions such as dry eye and damage to the delicate skin under the eye, as per eye specialists. Masks can also hide critical symptoms that affect the eyes.
According to Well + Good, Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton. M.D., an oculofacial plastic surgeon, “When we wear a mask, the airflow from our breath is redirected toward the eyes, causing them to feel dry and gritty”. The masks force a stream of air over the surface of the eye, creating conditions that accelerate the evaporation of the tear film, like a steady breeze blowing over damp skin.
The eyelids have the thinnest skin on our face and more likely to suffer irritation from masks that creep up to the eye area. Dr. Jeanniton recommends wearing masks that have a moldable nose wire to keep them in place and applying a hydrating eye cream under the eyes 15 minutes before wearing the mask. “I have cared for countless patients who developed skin cancer on their eyelids”, she said.
People with existing dry eye disease report worsening symptoms — a problematic occurrence for the tens of millions of people worldwide who already struggle with the issue. Concurrently, previously asymptomatic patients are flagging uncomfortable eyes and variable vision for the first time, particularly when reading or using digital devices for a long period of time.
Many people are now utilizing an eye supplement that is formulated with key eye nutrients to counter this problem from the inside out. Nutrients such as omega-3 fish oil, flaxseed, borage seed oil and turmeric can help fight against occasional dry eye.
The use of the supplement has garnered quite a bit of popularity. This is especially true among medical staff and nurses who previously thought they were allergic to face masks. Similarly, people in public places believed that their eyes were burning due to disinfectants – when in reality, it was the effect of their face mask.