While wearing a mask helps protect you against getting COVID-19, your eyes could be suffering.
When you wear a mask, warm air from your breathing pattern goes directly in your eyeballs, which can cause irritation or pain. It’s called M.A.D.E. or Mask Associated Dry Eyes.
Plus, when dry eyes are mixed with pollen season, your eyes could end up taking a toll.
“When allergies start bothering people, causing red irritated itchy eyes, having the dry air being blown over eyes all day is making that worse,”
– Dr. Mark Liebetreu, Board Certified Optometric Physician
The quickest fix for allergies is antihistamines, which only dry out your eyes even more.
So, what can you do to protect your eyes?
Make sure your mask has a pliable nose piece that can conform around your nose and block air from coming over the mask.
“They can use some 3M transport tape, and tape it over the front of the mask. That blocks the air that comes through the mask.”
– Dr. Mark Liebetreu
People most at risk for dry eyes are people who have to wear masks for long periods of times, like healthcare, restaurant, and grocery store workers.
If you feel your eyes are getting dry while wearing a mask, doctors suggest taking breaks from the mask as often as you can and using eye drops every couple of hours.