Face Masks Associated With Increase in Dry Eye | Carter Eye Center

Face Masks Associated With Increase in Dry Eye


Carter Eye Center Offers Relief

As if 2020 hasn’t been rude enough already, a new study published in Ophthalmology and Therapy has found that wearing face masks has been associated with ocular irritation and dry eye symptoms. Ugh!

Thanks to the world health pandemic, face masks have certainly become the norm in 2020 as people all over the world have had to get used to wearing one while in public. For some professions like education, healthcare and even hospitality, workers must wear a mask for the entirety of their work shift. 

We don’t want to argue about whether or not face masks are helpful or not helpful in containing the spread of COVID-19. That’s another topic for another day. But as a board-certified ophthalmologist with decades of experience in Dallas, Dr. Harvey Carter does have some useful information to share and strategies to suggest where face masks are concerned and as they relate to your eyes and vision. 

“We have made it our practice to ask our patients how their eyes feel while wearing a face mask. From dry eye symptoms to foggy glasses, we have solutions that can help.”

—Dr. Harvey Carter, founder of Carter Eye Center

Causes of Face Mask Eye Irritation

When wearing a face mask, the air that you breathe out is channeled upward, out the top of your face mask and over the surface of your eyes. If you’re wearing glasses or sunglasses, you already know the result; foggy glasses! We have a solution for the face mask fog bog! 

But even if you’re not wearing glasses with your mask, this expelled air can have a negative impact on your eyes. Movement of the air over your eyes can cause tears to evaporate more quickly, leaving the surface of the eye dry. After extended mask-wearing, your eyes might feel dry, gritty, irritated, watery and even fatigued.  

Solutions for Face Mask Eye Irritation

The first thing you should do if you experience eye irritation after prolonged face mask use is to make sure your mask fits well and doesn’t have a large gap at the top. Beyond that, lubricating eye drops may help relieve symptoms, but we always recommend seeing your eye doctor about which types of drops, as some over-the-counter varieties can actually make symptoms worse. 

With more people working and learning remotely, it is always good to remember to be mindful of your screen time, as this can irritate already dry eyes as well. We recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from looking at the screen and focus on something 20 feet away. 

Say Goodbye to Dallas Dry Eye

In a dry eye evaluation at Carter Eye Center, Dr. Carter will perform diagnostic testing, which includes ocular allergy testing to evaluate your unique ocular surface condition and discover the source of your dry eye symptoms. This is an important diagnostic step because chronic dry eye symptoms are similar to those caused by allergies and even some infections. Thorough testing will help us determine the best course of treatment for you.

There are a variety of treatment options for treating dry eye, ranging from eye drops to specially designed contact lenses and more. The severity and root cause of your dry eye will determine which treatment is right for you.

Discover the Carter Cares Advantage

If you’d like to finish your 2020 with the opportunity to have 20/20 vision, we can help! LASIK at Carter Eye Center offers freedom. Freedom from the restrictions and hassles of glasses and contacts, and freedom to live your life the way you want to live it, with the vision you deserve. If you’re ready to reach for your own 20/20 in 2020, let’s talk. Schedule your free, no-obligation LASIK consultation at Carter Eye Center today. 

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4633 N. Central Expy.
Suite 300
Dallas, TX 75205

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