Wearing a Face Mask Could Be Irritating Your Eyes, but These Expert Tips Can Help

It's so important that your mask fits properly.

10/26/2020 5:54:00 PM

It's so important that your mask fits properly.

Mask-associated dry eye (MADE) typically occurs when your breath escapes along the bridge of your nose and vents up into your eyes, drying them out.

, whether they're too loose or too tight."Just like your breath can fog up your glasses, loose masks allow your breath to escape along your nasal bridge and vent up into your eyes, causing your tear film to dry out," Dr. Esparaz explained. Meanwhile, masks that fit too snugly can keep your eyes from blinking properly."Your eyelids hold your tears and blinking restores your tear film. If you're unable to blink normally, your tears will evaporate faster than normal," she said.

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ADVERTISEMENTAs masks continue to be part of daily life for the foreseeable future, prevention is key — and fortunately, Dr. Esparaz said there are some simple things you can do to make mask wearing more comfortable. To soothe your eyes:Make sure your mask fits properly. Masks that can be sealed around the nasal bridge (with a nose wire, for example) are best. Adjustable ear loops may also help improve the fit below your eyes.

Place medical tape on the bridge of your nose to keep your breath from escaping into your eyes. (In order to prevent impaired blinking, Dr. Esparaz recommends securing the tape to your cheek rather than your lower eyelids.)Apply artificial tears or over-the-counter drops to your eyes before putting on your mask and throughout the day in order to keep them lubricated.

Wear eye goggles, if you like, to help keep moisture in longer.Take frequent breaks from your devices tolessen digital eye strain.Anyone can suffer from dry eye, and MADE is very treatable — but in order to prevent future complications, such as corneal abrasions or a corneal ulcer, it's best to speak with your eye doctor if you're experiencing symptoms.

Read more: POPSUGAR Fitness »

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